An angler's journal

An angler's journal

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Pike: Two in the net and the one that got away

A chunky looking 7 pounder
I just had to get back on the bank. It had been two weeks since my last outing and following a work dominated 10 days Sunday morning was my chance to kick back. A week of frosts meant a cold and clear Warks Avon awaited but this morning was slightly warmer meaning I awoke to a frost free morning. That said, it was only just above freezing and a thin mist hung, suspended in the murky grey, morning light.

I arrived to find I was the only one braving the conditions, which suited me perfectly. Pike were the quarry and the lack of others meant I could rove at will to find a lurking predator. I settled in a large back eddy that I know contains Pike. A float fished deadbait was cast into position while I doubled my chances with a 4" shad, which was retrieved slowly. I gave this spot a little longer than I should have. Perhaps the fact I know there are Pike in residence made me persevere, but after 45 minutes of searching the swim I conceded defeat and moved downstream.

The new swim was another area I have caught from before. A sprat was positioned on the inside while I replaced the jig head on the other rod. I then looked up to see the float had moved around 2 metres downstream. I tightened up, felt resistance and struck into the first Pike of the morning. It wasn't huge but it was a very lively fish of about 7lb.
The number of leeches on its underside gave away, unsurprisingly, that it had been hugging the bottom during the cold water conditions. It must have been hungry as the bait had only been in the water for literally minutes.

My companion
By now the misty start to the day had given way to bright sunshine. Its presence suggested that spring was not  that far away and it made for a really pleasant couple of hours on the bank. A robin had
decided to join me on my trip following me from swim to swim as I made my way further downstream. Again my sprat was placed near the near bank while I tripped the shad along the bottom hoping it would pass a hungry Pike on its way back to the water's edge. On the second or third retrieve I had the joy of seeing a Pike emerge from the bankside cover and hit the shad. It was great to see in the crystal clear water. On the light rod, another Pike of several pounds gave a good account of itself before being safely netted and returned. It was turning out to be a decent morning even if the fish were not specimen sized.

A 'Jack' with the shad that proved its downfall
With time running out I made my way to a deep looking hole on the inside of a bend. It has everything a Pike angler could wish for yet I know it it barely ever fished. After around ten minutes the float disappeared purposefully. Not wanting to risk a deep hooked fish, I wasted little time in striking. The fish was in a different league to the others, surely a river double as it surged off with a powerful lunge. It was then the unthinkable happened. The hooks pinged free! That was followed by the feeling of bitter disappointment and self doubt. Had  I struck to hastily? Should I have let it run a little longer before striking? I tried again in hope that the fish might make a second mistake but I knew I had missed my opportunity and so it proved. But like so many tales of the one that got away, it whets the appetite and I will be back and ensuring that this swim is the first I visit. Who knows what is lurking?

As always, I really appreciate your comments. :)


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Didn't mean to block this James, sorry!

  2. Cheers James.Not a bad result but can't help thinking of what might have been with that lost fish.

  3. Good going Lee,

    Always better to lose the pike today than risk losing it forever by deep hooking it, that's what I try to tell myself anyway. I had a stint last November basically losing most of the pike I hooked, so I know the feeling.

    Keep the updates coming.


  4. Cheers Darren. Of course, you're right and there's always next time.