Sunday saw the alarm go off at 5am and I woke up with a blinding headache. Now do I "man up" and go fishing or wuss out and stay in bed.
The lure of a days fishing was too strong and I crawled out of bed, got up, washed, dress and flomped down stair to sort stuff out.
It took we a good hour before I got out the door and sat in the car on the drive and knocked back a couple of painkillers before starting the car and driving to the lake.
I arrived in good time and met up with Craig and the conditions looked good. There was a brisk north easterly wind on our faces and we decided that it would be a good day to fish with the wind on our backs and send a rod each out on the vane (drifter float). The days was a mild 11 deg C, but felt colder as we lugged the gear on the 3/4 mile walk to the chosen swim and and begin to set up.
I potted about and got the first rod out. This was a straight ledger with a joey mackerel at cast out at range to a feature.
The second rod was to be a ultra short range float ledger into about 12 foot of water, bait was a jack herring which was flicked out so it sat on top on the weedbed.
The third rod was just being unbanded when the BBB sounded on the mackerel rod and I had the first run of the day. a health pike low double was soon landed, unhooked, quick picture and returned. Nice start, but I was starting to feel abit woozy, "oh well" I thought and rebait and cast back out.
The third rod was now being setup. With the conditions being near on perfect for drifting a bait across the water, I setup a modified drifter float and set it on its way. Bait was set at a depth of around 10ft to ensure it was quite close to the bottom and 6oz bream was soon sailing off on its first drift.
The drift was nearing about 80yds when the float ledgered herring was away and a short scrap ensued and a small jack was landed, unhooked and returned. This rod was rebait and returned.
The drifter was going well, in fact it probably was going abit quick and after its initial drift, it was retrieved and loaded up with additional weight to slow it down abit. It was then away on it second drift.
By this time only about an hour and a half had elapsed and the ledgered mackerel was away again, I struck and felt the fish and it was off. I reel the bait in and it had a good amount of damage to it, but it was useable. It was returned to back out and my attention was back on the drift, which was now out at about 120yrds.
Now I must share you with my drifter setup.
I have found over the years that in order to get a good drift going you need a big pit reel. Mine our Shimano Ultegra 12000 XTA, but the older model from about circa 2002/3. They are a good sized reel and if you hunt about you can pick up a decent 2nd hand one for around £70-90. I love them, they are a classic big pit reel with the advantage of having a built in bait runner facility. Mine are loaded with Berkeley Whiplash 45lb braid for the range fishing and one spool is fitted with Hi-Seas 65lb floating braid. This floating braid is great, it comes in red or yellow and when assisted with abit of fly fishing "gink" it floats very well and enables you to control the drift.
The mackerel baited rod was away again, and yet again I struck , the rod tip nodded a couple of times and then it was off. The rig was reeled in and the mackerel tail was gone, so a fresh mackerel, minus its head was cast back out. Only 5 mins had passed when the BBB on this rod was away again and a small angry jack of about 3lb was landed, unhooked and released. 5 runs and three this not a bad return. The jack had coughed up an number of fry whilst unhooking. A mixture of bream and roach fry, which would explain why we have for the last few weeks had such frequent action on this spot. I seems that the whilst the pike have been happy to have a pigging themselves on "wafer thin mints" e.g. on the vast shoals of fry, they have also been quite happy to take the dead baits we have been offering to them. Perhaps they know what the winter will bring and are simply stocking up on the old fat reserves.
Midday came and Craig finally got in on the action and had a couple of fish on the bank. One small jack of 3-4lb and a fish if 9.5lb, one fell to a lamprey section and the other a bluey tail. These two fish brought him up to near to his tally of pike for the whole last season. And with a couple of midweek session he has planned, he hopes to better his capture from last year.
Craig did also loss a pike in between his captures, quite a strange one really. He hooked what looked to be a low double at range and whilst playing it in, it surfaced saw us and dived down into a snag. The rod locked up solidly and it was only because Craig had on chest waders, he managed to wade out and free the whole rig, less bait and the pike. The snag it turns out was a vast weed bed on the bottom. The pike had during the fight, dived straight into this vast bed and shed the hook. 20 minutes later and very large and heavy patch of weed came to the surface and floated in. It must have weight a good 20lb.
But at least Craig didn't pull for a break and leave a pike in the weed with a rig.
I did have another couple of runs early afternoon which didn't result in any fish in the bank, and by 2pm after feeling very worse for wares. I decided enough was enough and that I would be better off going home to bed to try and sleep off this woozy feeling.
Not sure when I will get out again, but hopefully it will be before the real wintry weather sets in and the pike disappear into the deeper water.