Realities Of The Pike challenge...
So with a fun challenge well under way with 4 fish banked on the first session i was happy we had made a solid start to the pike challenge. Those of you who have not read last weeks blog feel free to check it out but the fun challenge we set was for 4 anglers to catch 400 pike with 30 doubles and one 20lb fish. Well a solid start was made and i thought if we all had the same success we would be well on our way, well, little did i know that 4 in a session was going to have to be the norm for each one of us if we are going to get any where close and we would have to put those four pike each on the bank once a week to have a chance. So thats 16 pike a week between us if we are going to have any chance. If i am honest i think the 400 pike is a little too much for us as looking at the months ahead we are just not going to be able to get out on the bank once a week each and add to that there is no way if we do get out once a week that we are going to catch 4 pike in each session as you always get blanks along the way.
The task of 30 doubles i feel is a target we have every chance of getting as we are all fishing waters that can throw up the number of double figure fish we will need so i am confident on this one. Out of all the parts of this fun challenge the 20lb fish is the one that is really out there but not beyond the realms of possibility and a fish of this size for 3 of the anglers in the group would completely smash their personal best pike which stands at around 14lb for me and Garry and 8lb for Ryan. Ste has the most experience in the small group by far but out of respect for his requested privacy i will not divulge any more on this but safe to say he can catch them.
So to sum up this challenge is going to be a real journey and is really going to challenge us but i am so excited for the journey that lies ahead..
So Many Sessions, So little Blogs.....
At this moment in time i am so far behind on blogging my fishing trips and this is purely down to the fact i have been getting out at every opportunity to try and catch some pike. There has not been a drop in the amount of blogs i am producing, in fact we are running at two a week at the moment , but to do all the sessions justice and with the length of the blogs also being in mind i thought it best to split the sessions down. In this update i will be covering a social session on the 3rd of October, a late evening short session on the 5th where we fished into darkness and also another short session me and Garry did on the 9th of October.
I am hoping to get another small update out midweek that will cover a stick float session to remember on the river and also a pike session the next morning that might include a new PB, just maybe though. If its not possible to get the midweek update out then this will push these sessions back to next fridays blog and then i plan on blogging this weeks sessions after that, believe me that is worth waiting for.
So its safe to say there is plenty of fishing yet to see the screen of this laptop but its just fitting it all in and i guess. I would say having so many sessions backed up relieves the pressure on the sessions at the moment but with this being a warts and all blog the blanks never ever worry me as they are just as important to write about as the special sessions in my opinion.
What Do The EA Do With My Licence Fee??
Its safe to say that the Environment Agency take some stick from anglers with regards what they actually do for the money anglers pay. i am a regular poster on a popular fishing forum and i see a lot the discontent anglers feel against the EA and the perceived little work they do for anglers. I must admit a lot of the frustration comes from the lack of visible action being taken against people who are taking numerous fish from our waterways for the table with another being the small fines that are passed down to company's who pollute our rivers. I guess at times some of these criticisms are just and especially when it involves a water you have developed a connection with over many years.
It was great this week to spend a few minutes watching this video below of the what the EA do after a an incident and how they asses fish stocks and the process involved, well worth a few minutes.
link to video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClVRdVJRvYQ
Cicily Mill Netted??
This week whilst trawling through the spiel on WAA facebook i noticed that there was a number of anglers claiming that Cicily Mill has been netted. Sunday was the day in question and the reasoning behind this claim was the fact that anglers had caught well all summer and autumn but no one had caught a fish or seen sight of a fish on Sunday.
Sunday morning i was out on the bank first light and it was the first time the light on my car has been on warning me of the temperatures being below 5oc. Now i am not saying Cicily mill has not been netted as it might well have been but i would think there would be a lot more evidence of this in the way of crushed down reeds etc it is much more likely that with the water being so shallow that the over night crash i temperatures has killed the fishing on this water. It is the complete polar opposite to why this water is so good in spring and is the first water the fish start to show on as it warms up so fast but people can forget that this shallow depth works the other way with the cold, i guess time will tell.
3rd October - Social Opening Week Session
This session had been planned a few months ago for the 1st of October but for one reason or another the session was postponed till the Friday. I arrived at the location not really knowing what to expect fishing wise as it was a place i had never wet a line before but one thing was for sure with three of us on the bank a good but of banter a surely with 6 rods in the water a few fish where a must.
Setting up spread along the bank we were a nice decent apart for us to have a bit of a chat whilst watching our rods. My tactics for the day was to present two dead baits along the margin, one was on a roach and the other on a herring jack. It was Garry that was first to get a run and after his jet setting holiday you could tell he was more than made up with this early fish and his first of the season.
It was great to see one of us pick up a pike so early on as it ave us all the confidence there was pike in the area and they were on the feed. Whilst sat back under my brolly i noticed my right float flipped and lay flat on the surface then slowly cock and move round in front of my position and slide under, a firm strike was met with a small jack with plenty of character but not much in the fighting department, still another off the total.
The fish returned i re-baited and settled back in. As with all pike fishing it seems the bites come in a short flurry and it was not long before Garry was into another fish. The fish was ready to be netted when i arrived and 3 pike in a matter of a hour we where cooking on gas with the challenge.
It went quiet for the next hour so a move was in order so we leapfrogged along the area. One thing that was noticible at the beginning of October was how active the pike where in moving onto a bait with most bites coming soon after casting in almost as if they where searching and saw the bait ball through the water. Dead baits nailed on the bottom where just not being picked up after a hour or so of waiting so staying active was certainly the way to go and i think a lot of this had to do woth the warm temperatures.
This proved to be the case again as no sooner had we moved and cast in my rod was off again and heading towards the depths as another bait was picked up by a hungry esox. At just under 5lb it was another jack but what lovely dark colours and i was over the moon with this pretty capture.
We then sat through a massive lull in action and at 1 oclock it was time to make a decision as if we was goin to move it had to be now to get the best out of the evening time. We decided on a move and quickly loaded the car and set off to another good spot we had sounded out in past years.
On the opening day i suffered a hook pull on a pike from a a swim in this location so i quickly cast out a bait to the same location with the hope he was still home. I literally had only cast the second rod in when the first float sailed away. I knew i had a decent bait on so i gave the fish a few seconds before reeling down and setting the hooks. The result was a solid hold and i knew i had a good hook hold on the fish, i am beginning to tell from the fights when i haven't now, a feisty character he was all over the place in the fight and even though a jack i was over the moon when Garry slid the net under him.
When you are in these scenarios with three of you on the bank and two of you have caught you are praying for the third person to get a run so me and garry sat and hoped for a run on ryans rods. As the afternoon wore on madness set in and fooling around i pulled the line on ryans ledger rig making the alarm beep, little did i know that from this the beeps would continue as it developed into a run, striking he felt the fish but instantly said it wasnt hooked, me and Garry where prepared for the capture with a net each but like he had predicted the fish spat the bait long before we saw it.
The day wore on and we were all sat in last chance saloon when ryans float slid away and a shirt fight later he was having his picture taken with a pike and he was up and off the mark! Great stuff! Garry lost another pike late on but we all left the water happy with a fantastic social session and us all getting a pike on the bank and we were now into double figures for the challenge with 10 pike banked.
5th October - Late night pikers.....
Garry and Ste had been on a social session on the Saturday and taken a pike a piece to just under 10lb while i endured a dismal session on the dee where i encountered a swim that was over 19ft deep and a total nightmare to fish on my 17ft rod. Sunday saw Ste banking a the first double of the challenge with a beautifully marked fish of 14.5lb, so going into an evening session to dark with Garry to total stood at 13 pike and 1 double.
We arrived at the location around 4pm and as we were going into dark i set up a ledger rig and a float rig, i have never legered for pike before so it was going to be a new experience should i get one on it. In reality i did not have to wait too long as in the corner of my ever i noticed the tip tapping and then the alarm sounded a few beeps, picking up the rod i felt the fish on the end and gave it a few seconds before setting the hooks. All the locations we are fishing so far all hold a number of jacks but also have the potential for doubles and even that special fish but its safe to say most fish are going to be jacks and lets face it jacks are going to make up the majority of this challenge.
We fished on for another hour or so and it was garry who was next to latch into a pike utilising a twitched method to lure the fish to take and again he landed a fish that was full of energy and again the bites where coming form a moving bait or just after casting.
We fished on into dark and fished a hour into dark. When you make commitments like this you almost feel you deserve a fish but alas our efforts went unrewarded. Two pike in a quick evening session though was more than welcome and kept the total ticking over.
9th October - Joining Garry for Half Day.....
On this session i joined Garry for the afternoon of his full day session chasing pike. It was around 3pm when i joined Garry on the bank and he had already landed one pike. The venue was crystal clear and there where plenty of pike following our baits but not taking.
Perseverance paid off as eventually a bang on rod as i slowly retrieved a small bait revealed that something had hit the bait. Striking i was unsure if i had connected with a pike as it really felt like i was reeling in my bait, but no there was a pike on the other end and a tiny jack. The all count as they say and i will take them all.
A move to another venue saw garry picking up two more pike and it was also great o have our licences checked on the day as well. All said and done 9 days into the challenge and we were on 18 pike and one double, we had all caught pike and off the mark and there was one double figure pike off the total, Great stuff
thank you anf if you have made it this far through them jacks then here is a sneak of what is to come....