Thursday, 19 January 2012

Switching Over?

Andy O'Brien

One of the big attractions of Pike fishing for myself - and many others I'm sure - is the many different types of water in which they can be caught. It’s nice to have options, and I suppose living where I do, I have a few options. Personally, I'm not one for sitting on the same water season after season, and it’s normal for me to have a few options of venue in mind each season. One of the good things about that is that you can chop and change the waters you are fishing to suit the conditions. Regardless of that fact, it’s also nice if things are not going to plan, on one water, to just change venue and try something else.

This autumn just past, I'd started my Piking around the very end of October. My first session was on a Fen Drain that I'd done OK on the Season before, and after 'leap frogging' along for an hour or two, it was nice to see a bobbin drop and catch the first one of a 'new' Season. It was only a low double but, a nice start all the same. I later caught the same low double and that was it for the day, strange, I'd expected a few more really, but you don't always get what you want !
From then on I'd flitted about a bit, with another session on the Drain, a blank, and then the odd short session on some local rivers. I then had a bit of a go on a neglected stretch of a river, which I'd had in mind. Several sessions per week over a 2-3 week period saw no action at all, not even a run! I knew it was going to be hard and it was. The Pike had obviously gone elsewhere and I'd decided before I started with it, that if after the 2-3 weeks nothing of note had happened, I'd go elsewhere, but where?
After fishing mainly Rivers and Drains the last couple of seasons, I fancied a dabble on a pit, and I knew just the place, so on my next session I headed there. The pit in question is a nice water, with the added bonus that it doesn't really get Pike fished all that much, which just added to the appeal.
Now, without going into too much detail here, I'm a big believer in the effects of the Moon (and Sun) influencing when fish will feed, and with my prediction that there would be a feeding spell around Mid-day. I arrived in the morning as I wanted to have a good look around the place before setting a couple of traps ready for the predicted 'spell'.
I had a good look about and as there was a strong and quite cold westerly wind blowing, I decided to fish off the back of it, in some calmer water, this calmer water also caught quite a bit of sun too, so I decided to give it a go. Setting up a couple of rods with simple ledgered Dead bait tactics, I cast a Smelt out to my left around 35yards out, next to a still visible weed bed and the other rod a bit shorter and to my right, in some deeper water.
Well I ended that session with two doubles, which was nice for a first session and planned a return within the next few days. On my return the weather had changed a bit and instead of mild and cloudy the day started out with a hard frost, another smaller pit next to the pit I was fishing was half frozen over.
With 3 predicted feeding spells for the day I'd soon ruled out a couple of areas, by fishing each of the first two 'spells' in different swims. I hadn't so far received any action to the rods, but by Mid-day, I'd seen a few clues! Round to my right, in front of one of the swims opposite, I'd seen quite a few small fish 'topping' and I'd also heard and seen a couple of better splashes, all this activity taking place next to a weed bed that was visible, still reaching the surface in places. I'd made up my mind to move into a swim that I could fish this area of activity from, for the Evening feeding spell.
A little later I moved round to one of the swims on the opposite bank a good hour or so before my predicted pm feeding spell. I had with me some nice fresh Mackerel, so onto the first rod-in the ‘hot’ area went half of one of those and a sardine onto the other rod, both with plenty of oil in and on them, that Sardine rod was fished a bit closer in and more to my right and the Mackerel lobbed about 30 yards out and more to the left of the swim. At this point of the lake there is only a track separating the lake I was fishing from a smaller one behind me, and in a swim behind me was a friendly old chap, just packing up after a blank day Carping. I put the kettle on and stood chatting to the fella and I’d only just poured the water into the cup when, out of the blue, a buzzer sounded as the bobbin on the left hand rod dropped off and the braid was peeling off the spool nicely. I wound down and leaned into it and the rod went right over as there was obviously a decent fish on the end, I started to bring it closer, all the while feeling ‘solid’ and weighty. Once I’d got it to around the 10 yard mark the fish broke the surface for the first time, and I’d got to see that it was a good fish, a 20 for sure anyway. It kept trying to go round to the right near my other line, so I had to give it a bit to bring the fish back in front of me.
 A few thrashes and head shakes and she was in the net, peering into the net I could see it was a very good fish (by my standards!) and on the scales she went 25lb 12oz, I was well pleased with that! I retained the fish while I sorted the Camera out etc, but first I quickly lobbed the now mangled half Mackerel back out to see what else the weed bed held. Before I had a chance to do any photos, the bobbin on the same rod (which had probably not even been back out 2 minutes) dropped back, I was probably a bit eager with winding down and striking and what felt like a Jack wriggled about for a few seconds before it came off, oh well. I put the rod back out again and with the photos sorted, I sat back to have that cuppa. Nothing else happened that evening but there was plenty of small fish topping still, and with another prime feeding time expected at Moon set the following morning, I had to get back down for it.
I had a very late night that night and didn’t get to sleep till maybe 3am and with the alarm set for 5.30 it was going to be an effort! This, after a hard week at work, meant that I could hardly keep my eyes open all the way there, but somehow I made it in one piece. By the time I arrived, it was still dark and a bit of fresh air while setting up woke me up a treat. The weather had changed overnight, with cloud cover in the sky; it also felt a couple of degrees warmer. I put the baits out, keeping the left hand one on the hotspot of yesterday, next to the weed bed and enjoyed a nice cup of tea in twilight. It wasn’t even fully light when that same left hand rod signalled a take as the bobbin dropped back, I wound up the slack and leaned into it, and again it felt like a decent weight on the end. The fish kited round to the right, then came in easily, until it surfaced, whereupon it went into a series of runs, then it tried to go along the right hand margin, near my right hand rod like the previous fish had done, I clamped down on it hard, turned it and pulled it over the net and lifted the net around it.

I had a quick look at it and thought it looked like another ‘20’ although a smaller one than the ‘25’ of yesterday and so it proved at 20lb 8oz. I really was pleased with these fish, it might not be much to shout about for some more successful anglers but I was happy with it! After I’d secured her in the margins, re-glugged the half Mackerel and chucked it back out, I was just sinking the line when I felt a tug, then the braid started pulling through my fingers as I was into another already! This fish turned out to be a low double and with a Jack on the right hand rod half hour or so later signalling the end of the action, I asked a Carper further round the lake if he’d take a couple of photos for me. With the pictures done, and the fish returned, I sat back with a fresh cup of tea, and reflected on what I classed as a superb start on a new water.

So there you have it, a change of venue, an open mind and a couple of ‘nice’ fish on the bank. That’ll do me!

Good Luck to everybody with they’re fishing in 2012.


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