An angler's journal

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Back for Pike

After much deliberation, I returned to the canal in the hope of catching more of its population of Pike. Tactics were a simple float fished deadbait that would be complimented with a lure rod to keep me busy. This week's conditions were a huge contrast from the previous. The conditions were overcast and with air temperatures the positive side of zero there was no sign of ice this week.

I cast a sprat into the area of last week's fish and then cast a soft lure towards the far side. It was retrieved slowly. As the lure approached the bank, the flash of a Pike appeared beneath my feet as it turned away without taking the bait. Aside from the obvious disappointment of not hooking the fish, it did offer me some encouragement that Pike were in the area and on the move. However, the next couple of hours didn't follow my aforementioned thoughts. I did have what looked like a dropped run on a sardine, but by midday it was obvious that this week's visit was going to be a failure.

With that in mind, I decided to head for home and call in on the Warks Avon en route and hopefully save a blank. Upon on arrival, my preferred peg (albeit the obvious one) was unsurprisingly occupied. I dropped into another slack area about 50 yards downstream. I have seen and caught Pike here before so I wasn't too disheartened. But around 25 minutes passed without event so I decided to move further downstream in my search for a fish.

I eventually settled on a slack area on the inside bank where the main flow is pushed out towards the river's centre. I have tried for Pike in the peg before but had never managed a decent fish. Indeed, a tiny Jack was the only result on previous visits. Although the peg's past form didn't bode well, it screamed Pike in every other way so I was willing to persevere. The area was much deeper, even close to the bank with some dead reed cover nearby. I attached a Smelt and made the short underhand cast. The flow started to move the bait downstream although this is not what I wanted so I dragged the float a little closer to the near bank where it was able to remain in position. The bait had not been there for long when the float started to move with purpose upstream. It then submerged from sight, prompting me to tighten and strike.

Note to self - Look for the sun's position before the photo
The fish neared the surface quickly and a flash confirmed it was a decent specimen. In keeping with this time of the year, it was a little lethargic. It made one good run before making more fuss in the net than during the fight. The scales showed 11lb 6oz before I managed a photo, which turned out horribly over-exposed in the afternoon sunshine. The fish itself showed some scars from previous run ins, possibly from a much bigger fish but it was a welcome appearance on what had proved to be a testing day.

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