Sometimes i have no choice but let this blog take a back seat, something has to give and as this is a hobby and does not really put money on the table as such it is always the first thing i have to drop, there literally is not enough hours in the day to get it all done. As such it has meant my normal schedule for uploading on a Friday evening and writing my blog on my dinner hour in work is not possible so the updates for the foreseeable future will be a bit sporadic.
That bit of life trivia out of the way lets get into this update...
First Pike Social Booked!!
So we are literally days off the start of he new pike season and i had booked the 1st of October off work with the view of a early attack on the waterways that had produced for me last year. The blog is there for me to share my fishing adventures with the world but it does also offer me and journal of my visits to the bank. Although i do not share locations on the posts, through fear of it attracting the wrong type of people in poachers, i know myself where i have fished on each session so as such i can look back through my own blogs and look at locations that fished well at certain times of year.
Work came up to me a few days ago and mentioned that the leave was really low on the day i had booked so i agreed to come in on the 1st October and swapped it for the following Tuesday. Garry, a fellow piker, is not able to get out on the bank till the 6th October so it will be a great social for us both to start our piking campaign. Talks have been on going for the past week but we have settled on a location and a plan of action for the day. I will of course be heading out with the same mentality i did last year, aim for one fish on the bank and go from there. Writing this now i am really excited to get out and although it is not mentioned in this update the weekend just gone i managed a pike on the bank and it really has lit the torch for the piker inside to be released again!!
Pike Season Ahead - My Plans and Mindset......
So we sit on the cusp of the start of the new season and looking back over October last year i really did hit the ground running. My fist session on the bank saw me banking 5 pike, nothing massive but with the target of 100 pike it got the ball rolling and i was on my way. October was a month to remember for me with me breaking my Personal Best twice with one pike going over 20lb and shortly in November i had days where i caught multiple doubles in one day. This is fantastic and great memories but what i have to do this year is keep my feet on the ground, continue to build on lessons learnt last season and always know that this season may be very different and it may be a season where i don't land lucky on bigger fish and i do not have half as much success as i did last season. I have to remain realistic about it and be prepared to work a lot harder for my captures whilst also remembering to enjoy what has become a time of the year i look forward to so much now.
This season i will obviously be continuing to share the bank with my piking mates Ste and Garry and although Ryan has moved further afield now i am sure he will make the odd appearance on trips with his supermarket jumbo mackerel baits. Towards the end of last season i was really happy to spend some time on the bank with one of Stes mates, Dave, a man who was coming back into fishing after a gap and was keen to try pike fishing. Me. still wet behind the ears in my piking baptism, was happy to help him as much as i could and i was really impressed by his determination and passion for the sport and i can not wait to see him catch his first double.
The target last season of 300 or 400 pike, 30 doubles and 1 twenty pound pike did give us all focus during the season with us all working towards a common goal but i myself did find i was going places to catch numbers of fish rather than going places where the chances of less fish but of a larger size was possible. The list also unavoidably took over and really at times did dictate locations i fished and also, especially towards the end where 100 was i sight, developed a unhealthy obsession with getting out fishing.
This season is slightly different as we have done away with the huge total target of hundreds of pike and also the twenty pound target has also been done away with and we have set a fun, but achievable goal, of 40 double figure pike between us. That equates to 10 doubles each and this gives us all freedom to devote a days fishing to a 1 take but a big fish water without worrying the pike total is not moving. Moving into my second year of piking i am really seeing this as a target i should be achieving but i fully know how frustrating piking can be so if i don't reach it then that's life as they say. My own personal goals for the year are to have fun and utilise methods i picked up last year and put them into practise. Here's to the adventures to come.
Fishing for me now is like a ritual, its part of my weekly routine and as such it is very rarely that sequence is broken. Saturday morning comes around and loading the car i head to my uncles to pick him up, a quick chat and we set of in search of new adventures on the bank. This week was different as an opportunity of overtime in work saw my uncle missing the trip out this week.
Regular blog readers will remember my blogs about piking last year where i openly documented how i found it hard heading out on my own and spending time on the bank. A big part of my fishing is the craic and laugh we have and the sharing of achievements or sussing out new areas, this session was different as the seat next to me was empty and the tackle fist easily into my boot with no need for tactile persuasion.
No rain for a week saw all the rivers running low and clear so it was a case of picking the best of what was available. It may sound unusual but i chose the part of the river where it was really shallow and running low and it was for good reason. Why would you not head for the deep areas with plenty of cover from the sun? That is a very good question but think about it like this, when the river is at its normal level or has some water in the fish can be in any swim along the length but on a shallow river running low the natural deep spots and dark areas where you can not see the bottom are where all the fish will be crammed into. So you will have all the fish from one area of the river in one deep hole and this includes the trout, chub, dace and gudgeon.
Fishing these holes in the river you will get quick results but the fish will spook eventually but what you have straight away is competition for food and this not only helps you get the fish out with minimal disruption to the shoal but when they do spook you are literally running bait right through them, they have no where else to go so eventually the will to feed and not turn up a free meal takes over and the fish come back on.
I moved away from my normal mantra of taking my tackle box and sitting in one swim all day and decided to lighten up my gear and walk the bank trying to land on a nice shoal of chub, i would know it once i found the swim to stay in. The first swim i arrived in i knew held some nice chub and setting up in the light of my head torch i could see the slow was going directly where i wanted it to and where i would expect to find the fish. Feeding the swim as i set up the first trot through i eagerly awaited the battle of a chub. Rivers are weird animals and despite fishing a 4 number 4 stick float the flow that looked steady held no power to even pull the float through the swim!! A change of plan and a move to approach the swim from a different angle saw me trotting away for a good two hours with a dace and chub to show for my efforts.
Knowing the potential of the river and sat there knowing the chub where there i stubbornly remained in station before admitting defeat. Moving on down river it was great to travel light with just a rod, landing net, keep net bag and pockets full of bits i was up and away in no time. I hit the first swim, a short glide along some overhanging blackberry bushes i caught a few nice dace but after hitting a big trout and losing it i knew it was time to move on.
My hopes of fishing a deep bend where dashed by a herd of cows and a big bull in the field who i knew would not welcome my intrusion so i settled in on the bend upstream. The flow right under my feet i had the option to run right along the inside snags but it was filled with risk. Hooking the fish would be no problem but getting it out would be the main issue. The fast flow on my inside had gouged out a deep run but it had also created a deep slack on its inside and i targeting this as my main point if attack. In went a good handful of hemp and i began feeding maggots, building up the fishes confidence, first run though and a dace fell to the baiting up tactic.
The next few trots through the swim brought the ever confident but ever annoying bites from minnows as one by one i ploughed through these fish. Its a game i first played on the banks of the river dane on the Warrington anglers stretch many moons ago, anglers would turn up with all manner of big baits like cheese paste, worm, bread, meat and so on and i armed with a few pints of maggot would head off. I knew i would be getting bites every time down from minnows but i also knew that once the minnows went it was CHUB TIME!. So these minnows although a irritant gave me great insight to what was happening below the water and sure enough all of a sudden the minnow bites went and i struck into the bottom or as us river anglers know them a chub. The swim i was in allowed no room to give the fish an inch and like all chub it knew where safety was, in this swim, all the overhanging brambles. Plenty of side strain and the tip of my 13ft float float well under the water she bent round in a smooth satisfying bend
The chub in the net i was one happy angler and after a quick picture it was into the keep net as not to spook the shoal that was down there. I was proven not to be wrong either as the very next cast the bait dropped of the ledge into the deep dark water and bang under the float went and i was into another chevin. A great battle with plenty of hairy moments along the way but with the drag set right and my 1.7 bottom holding i was in control and waited for that first opportunity to net the fish and reduce commotion in the swim.
These two fish came at 11.10 and 11.14 am and a good 20 minutes passed till the next chub at 11.37. This marked a landslide of bites from the chub as fish came one a chuck to the net for the next half hour with chub coming at 11.45am, 12.01am, 12.08am, 12.16am.
After weeks catching dace and roach an not much else having the carbon bend double was an amazing feeling and boy did that feel good! I decided to call it a day there as in the warm conditions i was fully aware that the chub had been in the net four a good 2 hours. Releasing them i new would kill the swim completely so i packed down the gear and prepared my camera and unhooking matt for a quick picture of the net of fish. Seven chub in total i was over the moon and even more happy as to how well behaved the chub where for the picture, a first time shot was acquired for the blog and back the chub went.
Not out fishing for another week the maggots where looking a little worse for wear and certainly would not last till the next weekend so as a thank you gesture i deposited a good half pint of maggots into the swim. They, and the minnows, would get through them in no time.
Well that's another blog update completed, i am a little far behind on trips, purely down to life away from angling. Finding time to blog is so hard at the moment so please bear with me i will get them out as soon as possible.
Till next week