Tuesday, 9 September 2014

First River Dane Pike As Fish Go Crazy!!

A warm welcome to this midweek update to the blog i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  In this update i will be covering an evening session i had a week or so ago on the River Dane and i hope to get across how in time you can really get in tune with the rivers you fish and just by how and where the fish are feeding and how they are behaving you can associate this with other things below the surface and what else could be going on in your swim.

Lets Get on to this midweek update...

River Dane Evening Session Stick Float Chasing Pike

As many regular blog readers will know myself and my uncle are anglers that like to get out on the bank really early on Saturday mornings to be set up for first light but sometimes it just is not possible as life and family will always come first and the morning of this session my cousin had a hospital appointment which meant our session would be an midday into evening session on one of our local Rivers.   We have really put the time in over the past few years with the rivers, this blog is testament to that, the upshot of this is we are now spoilt with a whole manner of productive fishing spots on rivers to visit and although we are still discovering the moods of the rivers like the Dane and the Bollin we are travelling to the river of late trying to match the conditions to the right river and location and so far this year we have not done to bad. 

Approaching the motorway we still had not decided on where we were heading and it was not until we approached our turn off we decided that a trip to the River Dane was the place for us.  We travelled to an area we had fished a month or so ago and done ok for dace and chublets but it was the odd better chub we we had been catching that we hoped to slip our landing net under on this session.  The day before our trip it had rained quite a bit so we knew that this rain, although nit effecting the levels, would add some much needed colour to the river and as we parked the car and got our first glimpse of the river we both commented what a great colour it had.  I call it the colour of weak tea where you can barely see the bottom but it is still visible in the margins.  For some rivers this colour can be a kiss of death but for others like the dane and bollin it gives the fish confidence to feed confidently. 

The Himalayan balsam still high i crunched my way though their watery fragile stems till i found the river.  The  presence of a rod rest made out of stick left in the ground  meant the swim had obviously been fished quite recently and i could see why as it had a fast flow down the middle where the flow was pushed together by two trees upstream but it was the inside line that intrigued me as there was a nice slack with just a touch if flow that then lead down to a over hanging tree towards the bottom of the smooth trot. 

The rod still set up from a roving session on the Bollin a few days earlier i was soon set up and ready to start mapping out the swim a little.  Although the water was coloured i was surprised to find the depth down the middle was no more than a foot or two, not good.  Next it was the inside line and i found again a shallow depth under my feet but plumbing up only a foot or so further down the inside line i noticed it dropped off into a deeper run of around 5-6ft, perfect. 

I knew the fish could be any where a long the inside line but in my mind i am always thinking about getting the fish where i want them so i can catch as many as possible during the session and in this swim my plan was to get the fish a few yards down the swim on my inside line where it dropped off, it was so slow a trot the maggots would be nearly dropping straight down to the bottom in that first few feet.   

Feeding maggot and hemp i began to get bites straight away from tiny dace fry and gudgeon and the odd small roach and began putting a few fish in the net, nothing major but a nice start.

Bites are all you are looking for at this early stage as you know your bait is getting down and there is nothing better for confidence than catching fish with mouth fulls of maggot and this is what was happening during this session and with Gudgeon being bottom feeders i felt confident the session would build on the promising early start.  

The size of the fish i was catching was nit really increasing with the amount if time fishing as i had hoped so i began to over cast the swim and when i did noticed the flow went down nicely to the overhanging tree and i began to pick up some better quality roach right down the swim, strange i thought as with the swim being so slow why had these fish not moved up on the bait and pushed the gudgeon and smaller fish out?

All the fish i had been catching had come in straight up the swim and fought up the middle of the swim but then i hit one roach who's fight was totally different as it immediately shot into the inside bank almost chub-esque without the burrowing for snags more wanting hide the fact it was distressed.  The fish lifted from the water and placed into the keep net i knew there and then something was nit right, fish not moving up the swim, only catching small bottom fish like gudgeon up the swim and fish darting into the inside cover in quite a distressed manner all pointed to one thing, a predator was in the area but little did i know how close.

The lack of action after this fish almost certified the fact there was a predator about as it was a good 30 minutes till i hit the next fish and it was a big dace.  As you can see from the top picture i was sat quite low to the river and just as i was about to slide my landing net down to net the dace a nice pike rolled at the fish but a i somehow managed to pull the fish from its dart.  

With silver fishing there really is only one thing to do when you know there is a pike around in your swim and that is to try and catch the pike and release it upstream away from your swim.  As a silver angler on the rivers i always carry a pike rod ready set up for this reason and it is quite simply to move the pike on as a pike in your swim 9/10 means no bites.  I quickly cast to a far bank slack hoping to find a fish on the other bank away form my swim and it worked a treat as i quickly had a small roach to put in as bait, with the pike rolling right near my keep net i did not want to disturb the pike who i knew would be just waiting for an easy meal. 

Out went a small roach bait and for a while the bait just swam round but then with a huge amount of commotion the pike came head and shoulders out of the water and in the air bait in mouth turned and dived for the depths in a spectacular take.  I have caught a lot of pike in my time in this way but dont think i have ever seen such a dramatic take.   The pike looked about the size of the one i had seen roll in the margin and on such a small river i was confident it was the same fish.  The fish was a dramatic as the take as the fish shook its head in defiance as it tried to spit the hooks but eventually i slid the net under a nice solid but lean pike weighing exactly 6lb and my first ever River Dane Pike. 

More than made up with this capture i savoured the moment and admired the sight of my first river dane pike and i remembered the opposite feeling i had when i lost a pike earlier on in the season on this river.  You have to remember these moments as they help you truly appreciate the highs of getting one on the bank and admiring it in all its beauty and it was beautiful with its vast array of vibrant colours including some really nice golden spots and bright orange fins.

The fish returned i settled back into my peg.  After a pike actively feeding in your swim and then the erratic fight of capturing it which normally involves the whole of the swim and plenty of disturbance from the pike being so aggressive at the end of the fight trying to throw the hooks it is always going to take some time to get the silver fish coming to your bait again.  The amount of time for the fish to come back is drastically increased in winter tough as the need to feed soon outweighs the fear of being eaten although your chances of another hungry pike moving in is also drastically increased in the colder months.

We are most certainly now moving into those colder months and as mentioned in Fridays blog the signs are all around us both above and below the water and this session summed up the changes below the water for sure.  Trotting the swim not a lot changed in the next hours fishing as the roach held right down stream and i could only pick up gudgeon close in and i knew something was not right, i cant explain it really its just a feeling you get and low and behold retrieving a small dace my line all went solid as a pike grabbed hold of the fish half way up the swim.

Now it is always hard to tell the size of a pike compared to a previous one on a light float rod but this felt solid and there was no moving this fish off the bottom.  The fish came slowly up the fast flow in front of me before turning side on causing line to scream from the reel.  I was sure at this point the fish knew something was not right but like in all these occasions when you hook pike or have a fish taken you lighten your drag with the hope you can tease the pike into a net able position,  The fish had some power i can tell you that as time and time again it would move under its own steam up the swim before it felt the pressure of me trying ti bring it in the the side before it shot down stream again and unfortunately on one of these turns my fragile hook length must had ran across its teeth as the line came back towards me,  I was not gutted really as you always know the odds are well against you getting these pike in what with the chances of the fish getting the small hook in its mouth and not connecting with its teeth and then of course there is the scenario the fish simply has hold of the fish and spits it out at the last minute.

Moving on i tied on a new hook and was back trotting the swim which was as dead as swims come and then one of the weirdest things happened.  I got to the end of a trot by the lower tree and was returning the float across the top when a pike swirled at the 10 number 4 stick float as i was retrieving it.  It was in the area the pike i had lost had gone to in it s last run but surely not the same fish, it was a big swirl though certainly a nice fish.  I am never one to pass up on an opportunity so i grabbed for the pike rod again and rather than casting to the pike downstream which would put me in all kinds of trouble i let the bait swim round just in the slack down stream as if it was hungry the 10-15 distance would be noting and it would find the bait.

The float trundled around for a good few minutes before i jumped out of my skin and quite literally nearly fell off my basket as the water in front of me erupted as a pike nailed the bait.  The fish felt solid even on my pike rod and out in the flow there was no bullying this fish and i will never know if this was the same fish but the fight was certainly identical as the fish made hard long line striping runs up and down the swim in one of the best fights from a pike i have ever had this was one fit river athlete.

The fight was a battle of attrition as the steely aggressive pike would make defiant runs for the inside bank with the water being coloured i could not see any sign of the fish as it held hard on the bottom.  At this stage i knew it was a better fish than the previous one just by the power but i was quite calm in the fight.  This was until the fish eventually come up thought the water column and when a big head and shoulder broke the surface almost like a crocodile hunting the wildebeest in Africa, at the sight of this all you could hear was me shouting "Az,  Az,  AZZA!!! come give us a hand netting this"  While my uncle was making his way to my peg the fish came up and glided into the bank and i was not going to chance the net and the hook getting stuck and this fish going so leaning down i slid my fingers under its gill flaps and with a firm grip chinned the pike out, on the bank she looked a nice fish but would she be a double?

It was straight into the weigh sling and on the scales and i was delighted to see them go round to 10lb 14oz.

The fish was easily one of the most beautiful pike i have ever caught and i was over the moon with the great pictures my uncle took on the night a fish captured caught in a photo i have not stopped looking at since its capture and i am still buzzing.

Time for one more picture before its release....

The last hour of the session went by in a blur and i think i only had the one bite right on last knocking which was the best silver fish of the night in a a nice chub.

The final net not really testament to the potential of this swim as with so many pike active its hard to judge how well it would have been had the fish felt safe enough to move up the swim.

I leave you with a small video of the session i put together.

Till next time tight lines


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