Well, I finally got myself out fishing last Thursday!
After hearing of a few pike starting to be caught around the country, I gave into my urges and decided I’d target them. After speaking to the bailiff on a stretch of the tidal Trent, I opted to try there. I haven’t really done much fishing in general on the tidal, let alone pike fishing, but I made my decision based on the water clarity being better than the non-tidal stretches, and the changing tides forcing fish to alter their positions, which would hopefully result in them spotting my bait in the process. With such cold conditions being set in for so long this winter, every species of fish will be lethargic – even those more associated with winter – so the fish will need a reason to move, be it hunger or the changing tide. By doubling the possibilities, I’d double my chances …I thought!
S.. L.. O.. W.. was the general pace of the day. I arrived, just after dawn (Hit the “snooze” button a couple of times too many!), to find I had the entire stretch to myself. Awesome; a whole stretch of prime-condition river filled with undisturbed specimen pike just queueing up to take my bait. I settled on a swim with a deep slack and thought to myself that if I hadn’t landed a fish by 8am there was something wrong for sure. Well, 8am came around, so did 10am, then mid-day and I hadn’t had as much as a dropped run! I’d tried different baits, fished them hard on the bottom and paternostered mid-water and had a good cast around, all to no avail. I had seen cormorants catching fish upstream, but it was inaccessible so I tried to cast as close as I could, which only resulted in my rigs getting dragged into snags which were stronger than my mainline. I was having a stinker!
There was the odd bait fish showing near the slack and I had some worms with me, just in case, so to save my sanity I set up a feeder rod to try for a perch. Apart from the odd slight movement on my light bobbin, which I put down to tide/flow, I still sat bite-less and fish-less until I finally decided to reel in the feeder rig to check my bait. Initially this was snagged, but after much tugging, the hooklength parted but I felt the weight of my swimfeeder was still there. A few turns of the reel handle later, the rod tip jerked into action and it soon became clear I was battling a fish! A few seconds later, I wasn’t any more. When I reeled in, there was my feeder, there wasn’t my hook, just as I’d expected. I’d had deadbaits in the area all day, which the predators ignored but now they were striking at my – seemingly more appealing – swimfeeder! A lure was hastily deployed to the same area and first cast, BANG! I was finally into a fish! At four pounds in weight, it won’t be breaking any records but it did provide a rare highlight during a less than remarkable day!
I’m out making the most of what’s left of the season on Thursday & Friday, then next Wednesday & Thursday too, probably concentrating on predators but maybe I’ll fit in a chub session somewhere too…