This week saw a relentless barrage of weather batter the UK with wind gusts reported over 100mph in Scotland and we also felt the full force of the wind locally with the evidence of its destruction all too apparent on my drive into work with parts of roof’s littering the road and fallen trees causing my main road into work to be closed.
The wind was really an after event to the rain that came before it, the relentless deluge of rain dampening my hopes of getting on the river at the weekend with every drop. The River Dee was thinning off nicely for the first part of the week till the rain hit and after that it ran constantly at 8.5m at Farndon and at them levels would have flooded the low lying fields in the
Dee valley area.
Listening to the radio on my way home only confirmed this as reports came in the EA in Wales had placed 22 rivers on flood watch and issued a flood warning for all of the lower Dee valley around midnight when the rain water was due to reach those areas. The true magnitude of water that must run into this river for it to stay in flood for three days defies belief and shows the massive catchment area of this river.
With the whole of the country receiving a soaking it also meant the tiny River Dane was also running high up the banks also and put pay to any trip to running water barring a trip to the River Gowy. After a bleak trip last time we decided to again put out faith in the local canals praying we would find the pike well fed leaving the silvers to feed in peace.
On to this weeks fishing:
After a lot of deliberation on Friday evening we narrowed the two venues we would be looking at the next day down to the Bridgewater Canal or the Trent and Mersey Canal with the first one being our preferred destination due to holding a bit of colour at the moment but the final decision would only be made once we seen how the stretches where being effected by the wind due to come in over night. Sods law isn’t it you sit in work all day Friday in perfect calm with blue skies, wonderful conditions to wet a line but soon as you walk out of those doors from work the weather changes.
The rest of Friday night was spent preparing my bait for the next day with slices of Warbutons bread being liquidised and a few slices being prepared for the hook. The only other change I made to last week was I decided to purchase some pinkies instead of the normal regular maggots I had been using in an attempt to see if this improved things on last weeks catch.
In all honesty the canals have been a bit of a let down for me as I was really looking forward to catching a few skimmers on my lighter match kits on my pole this winter and so far it hasn’t materialised at all I know it is nothing wrong with my rigs presentation as I cant really refine it any more than a size 22 hook with a 1lb hook length, its about as refined as fishing gets in England.
I am not one for making excuses about my fishing but the first visit to the canal was when it was frozen solid and icy cold which is always tough and last weeks visit was never going to be easy with so many predators in the area, silver fish are always going to be tough with 5 pike lurking in and around your swim.
With the possibility of us fishing the Trent and Mersey again on Saturday I put my small 6ft pike/boat rod my dad bought for me as a kid for literally a few quid for lure fishing the canal near my house and to be honest I have spent many hours fishing for pike on this rod and never ever caught one in fact I think the only fish I ever caught on it was a nice carp when I used it for fishing for carp under some overhanging willow so a trip out for this rod was well overdue and I packed it into my holdall in case it was needed to sort out some more toothy critters.
We arrived at my uncles around 7.20am, late as usual and boy are we going to feel it when we get back into the river fishing, we straight away headed for the local Bridgewater Canal at Daresbury, a journey that only takes around 10 minutes by car from my house so we arrived as the new day was just starting to show on the horizon and already the wind was howling along the canal causing waves that would make the surfers on Newquay beach nervous!! A quick check around the bend and it was, in fact, worse than the stretch by the bridge we then took a detour to the Bridgewater at Moore to find the wind still blowing a hoolie and far to strong to pole fish in so we decided to put all our eggs in one basket and take whatever the Trent and Mersey Canal had to throw at us.
We pulled up in the lay bye and there was a big feeling we where running later than we would normally as it was already day light by the time we had made the short journey to our chosen swims for the day. The good thing about pole fishing is how quickly you can get fishing and after pluming the two lines I wanted to fish I was all set to go. In went a nugget of liquidised bread over my straight out line and a sprinkling of maggots went in my second line right next to the stick ups to my left. My dad and uncle set up to my left a round 2 match pegs apart, my dad on the whip and my uncle like me on the pole.
There really isn’t a lot to say about the silver fishing other than it was absolutely diabolical and a non event!! By my uncle had had 2 small roach on bread and my dad a sole perch on the whip while I had given each line a decent amount of time with nothing to show. I then noticed the reeds bang on my maggot line like they do when a tench moves through them in summer and definitely was not the wind, which was blowing in big gusts from time to time.
The water was so gin clear I could see my small bed of bread on the bottom on the far side and this also must have added to the fishing being hard going but it was while making a quick change over to my bread line I saw a big shape go over the bread and I knew from its shape it was certainly a pike!!. I moved over my maggot line and after messing with the depth earlier on I had lost where I was a began pluming the depth and as I lifted the plummet it felt like it was grabbed for a split second and upon inspecting it I could see definite teeth marks on it.
Knowing how active the pike where last week I knew to have any chance of a decent afternoon I had to try and move this pike on and I quickly set up a simple pig rig with a barbless treble and a pike float stopped with a stop knot so the bait was in the upper layers and out went a perch bait.
The bait bobbed around for a bit until I moved it over where my maggot line was and within seconds the float disappeared and I was into a pike, no wonder we where struggling with so many pike about and being that active. The pike was aggressive in the fight as all pike are with its violent runs for the sanctuary of the reeds and the head shaking as it got closer in trying its best to throw the hooks. Thankfully I had a good hook hold and the pike was soon being unhooked on the bank. Pike are known for being aggressive fish and are a fish you can take your time unhooking and getting a picture with and are good fish for going back well but you must be equipped to unhook these fish, forceps, pliers and bolt cutters are a must as under no circumstances should hooks be left in the mouth of a fish they can easily lock their throat shut and I sincerely hope all anglers are now past the stage of throwing these beautiful creatures up the bank they have a right to be in the water just as any other fish and let nature strike its own balance.
After returning this fish further up the bank I got back onto my pole fishing line and expected to wait a bit after the commotion but was hopeful some fish would move in. After two long hours I had given up all hope and decided to spend the last hour watching my uncle and dad who had picked up one or two more small fish but nothing to say it was a decent day and around I returned to my peg to pack away. As I was packing my gear away I saw a much bigger fish swirl off the reeds as it must have taken a fish and caused one hell of a splash as it did so, this pike was a lot bigger than the one I had returned and decided to spend the last half an hour with the pike rod out.
In all honestly it took no more than 3o seconds for the small roach bait to be taken and from the off this fish was in another league all together as it almost reached the reeds time after time and even with 10lb maxima line I was struggling to cushion its hard runs, boy do these fish scrap!! It was not long into the fight my dad got a glimpse of the fish in the water and said it was a decent pike and take it easy on it. Pike are known for their explosive fighting and this one was no different short spells of it being heavy on the line followed by long hard dynamic runs but eventually to my arms relief the fish tired and was in the net.
Its taken me years of catching pike to get comfortable around them and it really is something you need to be confident with as with this fish one hook was in its mouth and easy to remove while the second was deeper down towards the top of its mouth and when handling these fish you need to be firm and confident and take your time and that’s what I did and soon enough the fish was unhooked and having its picture taken.
It topped the scales at 10ob 11oz and is a new blog record fish and to be honest only the second double figure pike I have ever caught and certainly the biggest in recent memory. This year really has been a bumper year for pike both on the river and the canal for me personally and you have to admire the beauty of these fish they are truly beautiful fish to look at, so many colours. This picture below, you followers on twitter will have seen as I posted it on Sunday night but I definitely do not want to be reincarnated as a roach on the
and Trent . Mersey Canal
Till next week