An angler's journal

An angler's journal

Monday, 9 December 2013

A Lesson Learned

With a few hours spare on Sunday morning I decided to spend them on the banks of the Warwickshire Avon. I had seen a weather forecast predicting a cloudy, mild day but reality brought a bright and clear day with a stiff breeze gathering pace by late morning. With no significant rain for a few weeks and some cold nights, the river had cleared meaning I could see the bottom in 3-4ft of water. With this in mind I had decided to take a quivertip rod for chub and my deadbait rod for pike, I also packed in my lure rod at the last minute.

My chub setup was 6lb line straight through to a size 6 hook baited with cheese paste whilst I used a ledgered paternoster rig to present a half mackerel for the pike. The first swim was given about 40 minutes before I upped sticks and moved downstream. My target was a good chub peg that has produced in the past. My rationale was that if I couldn't snare a chub there then it would probably mean they weren't in the mood. I passed a few anglers float fishing maggots with little to shout about and then met another pike angler who had managed a fish earlier that morning.

A short chat later and I arrived in my spot and cast the cheese paste under the overhanging tree protruding from the near bank. I decided to leave the pike set up at the top of the bank, as for the time being it was do or die as far as the chub were concerned. Twenty minutes later and with not so much as a twitch I reeled in and packed the chub rod away. As far as I was concerned I was flogging as dead horse and it would be pike that would get my full attention for the next 90 minutes or so that I had remaining. I moved a peg or two upstream. I decided to remove the trebles and replace it with a trace sporting a single hook baited with a smelt. This was cast into the river ready to intercept any pike in the vicinity. The pike angler I had passed earlier came walking by for another chat and reported he'd had no further interest since his fish at first light.

By now it had past 11am and my bait was also lying undisturbed. It was obvious deadbaits weren't interesting the pike so out came the lure rod that I almost didn't pack. I connected the spinner that had been successful on my previous session and had attracted lots of perch interest. Fifteen minutes later and it was time for another change and out came one of my new spinnerbaits. I opted for
Spinnerbaits did the trick
a white and silver pattern using the old mantra that natural colours work best in clear water. Within five minutes or so the rod hooped over and I was into a pike. The 7ft, light actioned lure rod I was using meant that the pike, although not huge, gave a good account of itself. It was a plump looking fish that had obviously been feeding well for the impending winter. I estimated the weight at about 5lb, took a quick snap whilst it lay on the unhooking mat before watching it slope in the margins before it disappeared from view.

A chunky looking 'Jack' pike
With confidence renewed, I soon moved into a new spot a little upstream. This almost resulted in pike number two. As the lure made its way back to the bank a pike appeared from nowhere and grabbed the lure. I could feel the pike pulling aggressively as it thought it had found any easy meal. I struck! Unbelievably, it resulted in thin air and I watched the pike vanish almost as quickly as it appeared. I couldn't comprehend how I missed that one and despite persevering for another ten minutes or so hoping it would return, I saw time run out and my session ended.

Although it would have been nice to have caught the second pike it did remind me of some valuable lessons. The first was not to discount lures whatever the month and secondly, if one method isn't working then do something proactive. It would have been easy to sit behind a deadbait for the the session but I am pretty sure it would have resulted in a blank. On another day it might be the best method but on this day the pike seemed more inclined to chase a moving bait. To finish, I must say I've got a bit of the pike bug at the moment. After concentrating on barbel for several years it has been quite refreshing to catch a few different species this season, especially since the barbel fishing has been so indifferent. That means I am already plotting my next predator session.


  1. That pikes fit to burst! ! Got your pred head on big time.


  2. I suppose it beats sitting behind a stationary barbel rod.