Sometime ago, I had decided that I needed to kick off my stillwater piking campaign with 4 days of solid fishing. So I booked three days (Wed-Fri) off work and also arranged a leave pass for the Saturday.
My thoughts behind this were to search out some early season pike before the cold weather and first frost of the years came upon us.
During the summer I had drawn up a list of five waters that I would target the pike on during the season 2010/11.
For the 4 days, I thought it would be good if I could fish at least three out of the five waters. Spending two days on my favourite.
Of the three venues, two venues were "known" waters and the third venue was a brand new water. Well best laid plans and all that, soon saw me only being able to fish two waters. This was due to the fact that one water has moved it pike seasons start from the 1 October to late October or early November due to high water temperatures. This along with another series of new rules is being brought in to help protect the pike stocks in this particular water. So I have no problem with them management changing the start date.
Day One Wednesday
The first days fishing didn't really start promptly due the fact that one of the cats needing a hastily arranged visit to the vets.
By the time that I had running around and gotten home it was gone 10am. So much for the 6am start.
The first session finally started at 11:00 with a short walk to an old swim. It was a warm day for October being 17 deg C with a water temp of 14 deg C. Three rods were setup one:
Float fish roach, pop up smelt and bottom fish bluey with feeder.
The fry were all over the place and the grebes were having a field day.
At 11:40 the float disappeared and a small jack of 3-4lb was soon chinned out and unhooked. Not a huge fish, but it was fish number 9 of the season.
Nothing more happened on day one and at 4pm I packed up and headed for home.
Day Two Thursday
Day 2 saw me wake up bright and early, and I was down to the same stillwater as the day before. This time I decided to go to a swim that has a marginal shelf that during the summer months has large weed beds and the fry love it. Each year it produces fish during the first month the season.
Air temperature was again 17 deg C and the water temp was still 14 deg C, but it was cloudy with a south easterly wind.
Again three rods there setup up, paternoster smelt, pop up roach and bottom fished bluey with feeder.
At 9:15 the BBB alarm on the rod baited with the smelt sounded and I leaned into a small fish, but after a couple of nods on the rod tip, it dropped off. The rod was re baited and I returned to the chair.
9:45am the bluey rod alarm sounded and I lent into a good fish, I played it for about 5 mins before something strange happened. The line gave way.
Now this has not happened for god knows how long. And even as I'm writing this, I puzzled as to what went wrong. The line was cut cleanly. So did I leave the strike too long, had the line been damaged by something like zebra mussels or was it a flaw in the line.
Well the line was brand new this season and at 15lb it takes quite abit to break it. At the end of each session I cast out each rod and on the retrieve I let the line run though my fingers to check for damages.
So It only leaves two possible answers, late strike or line damaged after I had cast out. Well I pretty sure that I didn't hesitate on the strike, so It must had gotten damaged by an unknown whilst the bait was out. Luckily the rig used is free running, so the pike is not dragging around a lead, but it does have a wire trace in it mouth much to my regret.
11:45 and the paternostered smelt alarm goes off and I lean into a fish. This one is played abit gingerly after the second lost fish, but soon a jack of 9lb is unhooked and returned. Fish number 10.
Nothing more happened on day 2 and I returned home at about 3pm.
Day Three Friday
Day three saw me set out from the house at 7am for a new water some 30 miles from the house. I had come upon this water whilst doing some site visits for work and after must searching, found out enough info to convince me that it would be worth putting on this season hits list.
With pike recorded to over 30lb in the last 5 years and a number 20lb fish being reported. It looks a good bet to have a healthy head of pike. This was also confirmed with an email exchange with the clubs match secretary who told me that match man had landed pike to 14lb during the summer.
On a new water is always difficult to decided where to fish. Being a stillwater well over 70 acres, it can be a daunting prospect to some pike anglers, but to me it yet another challenge.
The first swim I settled into look very pikey. With fry jumping and grebes diving, it looked good for a fish or two. But the swim was not right. The lakes beds contours were shallow and uniform with no drop offs or marginal shelf. It was even devoid of any bottom weed. In fact the water depth at the bank was the same for some 40 yards out.
Just after 3 hour, nothing had happened and I decided that a move was in order, but where to go. After a 20 min walk, I found a swim that had alot more appeal. Sunken tree, weed bed, reed lined bank and a narrowing of the lakes. I was soon setup with a paternostered roach, mackerel tail on the feeder and a pop up smelt and awaited expectantly.
By 14:15,nothing happened, and I decided that I would give the bottom baits a twitch along the bottom. At 14:20, I received a text message from my fishing partner Blankman to say that it lunar phase watch was screaming four fish on the display.
14:30 came and the mackerel came into life and a jack of 5lb was soon landed and returned. Well chuffed to say the least for a number of reasons.
1) First fish from a new water
2) It was fish number 11 of the season
3) It saved me from having a wogan!!!
As the mackerel tail was still attached to the hooks, I soon re baited the feeder and lobbed it back out to where it had first been cast too. I had just setup the BBB and it screamed at me to signal a run.
I struck into a decent fish and it plodded away out in the clear water. Soon I had the better of it and it seemed to be ready to be chinned out, but with an glint in its eye just at the moment I was to slip my gloved hand under the gill cover it took off right into the paternostered roach.
What a mess the pike got into, there was line everywhere. Soon she was was ready for the net along with a ball of line, trace and float.
She was a bit deep hooked, so to avoid her spending too much time out of the water the bottom treble was cut off using my trusty side cutters and a low double was returned to where she had come.
Soon the time to return home was upon me and I trudged back to the car happy. Two fish from a new water and a double too boot. I can wait for a return visit.
Day 4 Saturday
Saturday was to be spent in the company of Blankman on one of our favourite waters.
I arrived at the car park to find his car already there and empty. Being just past 7:00, it seemed that he had decided to venture down to the water edge already.
I quickly unpacked the car and head along the bank and soon came upon him settling into one of our favourite swims. He had already cast his first bait, so he had the upper hand. But I was soon unpacked and two rods were baited and cast out.
At about 8:00, he had a run on a bluey tail, after a quick fight, I chinned out a fish of about 5lb for him. Whilst unhooking it, I noticed that it had been chopped on in recent times by something abit bigger. After making sure it was ok, and its wound were healed, it was returned.
8:30 came and I was into a small fish on the paternoster ed roach, it was quickly chinned out, unhooked, quick snap and returned.
Blankman and I then had a chat about how many stories we had heard of anglers catch the same fish twice, not just on different days but on the same day. Well that only meant one thing could happen.
9:14 Another run for Blankman, but this fish gave nearly no fight what so ever, but when it came closer, I realised that it was the same fish he had caught less than 2 hours ago. Its bite mark's were identical.
We decided at 10:00 that a change of swim might be on the cards, eventhough we were catching pike, none of the bigger fish were showing. So we up sticks and moved to a slightly deeper spot about 1mile away. We stayed for a couple of hours and even though it looked like it should produce fish it didn't.
1pm we moved again to a old haunt, but again, no runs, so we upped sticks for the final time intending to fish a swim with a structure. Upon arrival, the swim was taken by another piker angler, so we decided that for the last couple of hours we would go back to where we had come e.g. the swim from the morning.
By this time it was early afternoon, and another laughed was had when I joked that Blankmans front alarm bleeping was a run. No sooner had I said "RUN" my backbiter sounded and a large jack/low double took the bluey on the feeder.
This fish proceeded to run across the swim back and forth, rod were lifted out of the way and finally after a minor tangle it was chinned out and unhooked.
The rest of the afternoon was uneventful on the fish front, but we did spy two swimming grass snakes and a stout chase a rabbit into the bushes, followed by a loud scream.
What can I say but what a great 4 days, nothing massive, but with 14 pike under the belt so far its looking good for the season ahead for me and Blankman.
TL for now