Another early start on the river today but not early enough. Pete and his son beat me to my favourite pegs for once and Pete was chuffed. Arrived at 4.30 am and the Moon was acting as a subtle form of floodlighting. I don't normally put a livebait out at this hour but couldn't resist. The bungs were clearly visible, except for the odd occasion when the moon hid behind a cloud briefly. My two rods weren't in the water more that 10 minutes when i decided to bring the right hand bait slightly closer to the shelf in a spot i know is a popular slack water Pike residence. I moved the bung and immediately the bung dived under and the fish moved out into deeper water. A small double came to the net(11lb pictured above). What a start. I will never know whether moving the bait contributed to enticing the strike or whether i moved the bait to the fish but whatever the answer is it resulted in a super little Pike being landed.
I placed a fresh bait back on the same spot and 10 minutes later i heard the clutch on the reel make that noise Pike anglers love but sadly this time the fish evaded capture by finding a snag. The advantage of fishing heavy 80lb braid is that everything came back except my bait and of course regrettably the Pike escaped but at least it wasn't left with hooks in it or worse still tethered to a snag. Rivers are full of big snags as are many stillwaters and using 15lb Carp Mono just won't suffice. Pike safety is paramount if we are to see the future of our beloved Esox flourish.
The next action came not in the 'Rod-bending' form but in the highly entertaining display of insanity by two EA officers in dry suits swimming into the river to dislodge some trees and debris that had collected around the Bridge supports(Photo above). The sanity of pike anglers is oftened questioned when we venture out in arctic conditions, so this brief interlude was highly amusing to all the river regulars.
Entertainment over with and I was enjoying some roach sport on the waggler and stickfloat when the left hand bung disappeared. I had positioned this bait out in the flow where the Chub have been present this last week. A hard fighting double of 16lb 8oz(Photo above) was the prize. It was another typical short fat seasonal river Pike with a belly which made my belly look small. Quite a feat you might retort! What a stunning greedy Pike it was..............
Shortly after that the days fishing came to an abrupt end. Last night's rain had melted the remnants of the snow and it was filtering into the river rapidly along with a heady concentration of Rocksalt i would guess. The silver fish immediately stopped feeding and the river turned from perfect clarity to something resembling the Mississippi. It took just an hour or so for it to turn chocolate brown and zero clarity. On this popular stretch of river where pegs are full on both banks every day at this time of year by sunrise it was completely deserted by 1pm. I was, as usual last to leave but even i was resigned to the futility of staying. I was gutted, as were those around me because the fishing the day before had been spectacular; I had watched Reg catch 40-50lb of Chub opposite me the day before whilst i had a mixed bag of around 30lb. Everyone filled their nets and the Pike were feeding too for the first time in a while. Today was certainly not a disaster by any means but it was anti-climatic..........But i guess that's fishing for you; especially on rivers. Like the opposite sex; they are moody things. Some days dreams are fulfilled and wonders are offered up and other days no matter how much effort you have put in you get nothing in return...........But we keep going back trying to unravel the mysteries of their depths.