Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Border Assault By Alex Cairnie


Out of respect there will be no photos of venue.... 

We were working in Hull and had been chatting daily about the pike as we normally did most days; they always found a way into our conversations.  

Chris had asked a guy from the pike fishing forums about the potential fishing in the area and the fella kindly pointed us toward that neck of the woods. Online reports suggested very average fishing at best and big dubs or 20’s to be rare beasts entirely, but history suggested that it was at least capable of better.

On arrival I was struck by how beautiful a venue this was and how similar it was to my favourite of all English venues the broads,It had the same reed lined margins and flat peaty shallow look to it that screamed big pike. The locals who were also going out had other opinions of the potential, clearly stating doubles were   considered big fish and 20,s were very rare indeed. In fact it hadn't done a genuine one in the previous few seasons according to a small band of locals.

Ididn't matter to us we were in England on business and any pike were good pike on a new water and we just needed to get out there and fish, in the back of my mind I seriously fancied this place it had great history and it just looked pikey to me and more importantly I also had the feeling we were there at the right time.

We headed out on our boat and had a slow tour of the place taking in the beautiful views and natural appeal of the place but it wasn't long before we saw a problem….hundreds of problems in fact.

There was a wooded peninsula on one shore and the trees that once thrived were now barren of life and leaf except of course for the 150 odd cormorants drying their wings in urgent anticipation of their next meal. My heart sank....How could pike compete with that? I expected the pike were now hungry pike and skinny too. I had been here before on venues I was telling myself I would be surprised if there was anything left. In hindsight hundreds of cormorants need feeding and I was to be proved wrong at least on that side of things.
We chose a shallow area at the mouth of a small inlet that looked like the most natural spawning bay on the whole place, it instantly jumped out at me and  the swim chosen on the basis of temperature and time of year, no science to that just experience.

I thought if the fish had spawned they could be in the process of re entering the main body of water as we spoke directly below and around us. My spirits lifted when I noticed some fry breaching near the margins. We fished Narfulk style with small bright float ledgered deads in the calm coloured water casting close to the boat in less than 5ft of water. Rod away instantly I was into a fish a hard fighting 10 pounder and a good start, slipping it back I noticed Chris lifting his rod....big swirl behind his float.... fish on! This dropped off after a few violent shakes of the head, we both agreed this had been a good fish and possibly the size we were after.

My next run to the same bait produced an upper double of around 17lbs again in super condition though clearly lean and empty. We were definitely on the money I wondered if other areas would be the same or were we just the lucky ones today. I dropped a smaller fish just as my second rod bent double this was met with solid resistance clearly a bigger fish after a cracking fight I netted a thick 20 weighing 21lb solid and clean. The baits were being taken rapidly and many fish from singles to mid doubles graced our net in the next few hours.

I dropped two more good fish one an easy mid 20 that came to the top before throwing the hooks, they were all lightly hooked but not messing around on the take. Chris shouted he was in and it was a lump, I was hoping for an English pb for both of us and this fish seemed to fit the bill, unfortunately it was to lead him under the boat and in all over the place before dropping off this was a very large fish possibly the best of the day. I could see the look in his eye and little was said. Then I was in  again the float went right under Loch Tamer earned its reputation by stopping this leviathan in its tracks as it headed out towards an anchored buoy , I wound down hard and she came toward the boat going crazy at the sight of the net but she was mine…  She looked colossal.

Her frame was immense and my mind was racing towards that magic number I craved, I rested her for a minute before bringing her into the boat, her head and tail were aged and enormous the muzzle was long and broad like mammoth pike of old but alas it was not to be.

At 27-01 she was well shy of my first guess she was also very empty and clearly just fresh from the act of spawning I cradled her for a while in the net just staring, one of those rare moments when all is fine around you and you are lucky enough to share minutes with this truly pre historic creature that knows nothing of us or our world. This is why I fish, for moments in time I will remember forever among the wild things, when for split second all the bad stuff seems a distant memory and not as important as it seemed yesterday, it’s not just for the capture and love of big pike.

She had Perhaps the largest tail and side paddles I have seen on any pike the photos done her no justice, an old  look in her eye as if this was nothing that would phase her,  she behaved well for the photos too. She swam off strongly and I always say a little prayer that they recover well and see another year. Our mission was accomplished and though we had a tremendous day on virgin (for us) water we could easily have boated 4-5 or even 6 other 20,s on that still February day.  

Big Pike can remain undetected in any water size; I truly believe we only ever scratch the surface with our islands true potential, my own chosen venues are ones of the ultra tough varieties. By choice I am after uncaught and unpressured leviathans in waters with a small head of pike for the acreage... blanks never bothered me the rewards of one run can change everything. I have been lucky to fish with pikers of a similar standing, one in particular being my late friend James Lockard who was a master at douring it out, unfazed by the elements or time alone, eventually extracting the largest fish on those rare occasions.

Sure there are monsters out there…..

Time really does fly, I will go back but when who knows...will it be as good, probably not but unless you go you will never know.

Al Cairnie
(Harelaw Henry)

Below is an open invite for members of the Pikers pit in memory of James Lockard, from Alex at his fisheries, I'm sure this is extended to anyone wishing to participate, Alex can be contacted via the forum under the name of Harelaw Henry. or alternatively through his fisherie. (editor)

I will be inviting forum members to a social in remembrance of a good friend and top piker James Lockard who passed away last year. Forum members contributed to the fundraiser HELD AT HARELAW last year and i plan to hold it each year between my own venues and hopefully loch fad, a favourite haunt of James over the years. The first will be held on Snypes where myself and james spent many winters blanking mostly, though not always...Wink

It will be by blind donation on the day with the funds supporting the st vincents Hospice. (dont be shy)

space for pikers a plenty so come along and have a bash with the trophy going to captor of the biggest pike over the weekend. Bivvying allowed

barbie beer and raffle ....usual banter Clown

1st-2nd JUNE- date confirmed, changed due to unforseen circumstance

No comments:

Post a Comment