First Pike session of the winter

Tony Pike

First Pike session of the winter

With more doctor and hospital appointments for both Fran and me this week, once more I only had one free day for fishing. I’m glad to say my six monthly prostate cancer assessment has allowed me a further six months surveillance without any procedure being necessary so perhaps I can relax until then!

I decided to have my first piking trip of the winter although, as the weather turned out, I would probably have been better served going after barbel again. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the day. The venue was a pit quite close to home where I’ve had lots of good pike over the years, to nearly 25lbs. My piking these days is quite narrow, not being a fan of lure fishing and refusing any longer to use livebaits. 95% of the time, I’m presenting legered deadbaits, unless I’m on a river where trotted deads work well for me.

My favourite bait by far is the mackerel, especially whole joey mackerel of six to eight inches, and they are what I mounted on the trebles of all three rods well before dawn. I’ve found on this particular water that I have to be in place well before first light as the fish have always shown a distinct preference for early feeding. By contrast, the afternoons are quite slow and over the last few years it’s proved a waste of time staying into dusk.

Each bait was cast to a different range in a large bay with a lack of obvious bottom features to target. The left hand bait went out about 30yds, the middle bait to 45yds while the right hand one was around 65yds offshore.

My early arrival was certainly justified when the drop off alarm on the left hand rod sounded just as dawn was breaking, to be followed by a screaming run that would have done a carp proud. I was fooled into thinking that I had fluked a very big fish on my first cast, because that pike fought like a tiger, well above its weight. Although I was pleased when it went in the net, I was surprised and I have to say a little disappointed when it weighed only 14lbs, on the nose. It wasn’t the prettiest pike either, with an ugly seeping wound on one flank where it appears an old scar keeps re-opening. It never affected its fighting ability though and scampered off apparently none the worse for its ordeal.

All was then quiet for three hours, quiet that is apart from the torrential rain drumming on the brolly. And then at around 11.00am, mercifully during a lull in the downpour, a fast run to the right hand rod saw a repeat performance with another hard battling double of 13lb 12ozs. It’s rare for me to experience pike repeatedly taking line against a firmly set clutch and I put that down to the unseasonably warm water.

That was the end of the action and although I fished through until 4.00pm there was not another sign of a run. I intended to give it until just after dark but made the sensible decision to pack up early as wicked looking thunderclouds rolled in. Ten minutes into the drive home, a monsoon opened up and I was thankful I was not out in it!!

Tony Pike

 

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