It was at around 0700 on October 28th 2016 that I set off on my first serious pike session of the 2016-2017 season at Pike Pool 1 with high hopes in my heart … after all my bedtime reading for the previous couple of nights had been Bill Chillingworth’s ‘Tactics For Big Pike’ and I was feeling super-uber-confident.
I arrived at my chosen swim at around 0740 and immediately threw out my partially pre-prepped chum/rubby-dubby into my two chosen spots – at the edge of the overhanging bushes to my left and right, both about 2-rodlengths out in a water depth of approx 11’. The ‘chum’ consisted of various blitzed oily fish (sprats/sardines/etc), chunks of fish and a tin of tuna, doused with lamprey oil, cod liver oil, and fish sauce (anchovy) and bound together with breadcrumb.
Two rods (2.75lb TC) were tackled up to ledger baits using 40lb braid mainline to connected to 30lb wire traces each equipped with a size 2 double hook at the end and a size 4 double 3”-4” up the trace and weighted with 2oz running ‘leads’ on 4” weak links (8lb mono). Indication of bites was via weighted carp indicator arms on the back rests (to allow indication of ‘drop back’ bites) and my trusty 80’s Optonic Compact alarms on the front rests.
One rod was fished with an Indian mackerel in pop-up style (with a balsa rod pushed into the mouth of the bait fish to give the necessary buoyancy) and the other rod was fished in a straight ledger style with the (normal) mackerel section (4oz) bait held static on the bottom.
Now I wish I could say that I had run after run, landed a few pike including the *ONE* I’ve been after for the past 2-3 years (a VERY big lady!) … but the truth is I had not one run… although there was the usual ‘action’ that seems very peculiar to this water … the ‘twitching line’…. Yep, seems to happen quite often there … the line can be seen twitching but not enough usually to trigger the alarm. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeTswEnFfKI for some video of the effect that was taken a couple of years back. As I say, don’t recall the same thing happening elsewhere. AND when the bait is retrieved it is virtually intact even after being left out for several hours… and as I say this was happening mainly on this day to the large chunk of mackerel although there were a few ‘tweaks’ at the slightly smaller Indian mackerel. However, I do think this is due to chub sucking at the bait or at least trying to get at the bait’s stomach and innards – possibly could be crayfish BUT never seen a cray nor heard of one being seen/caught there so think they can be discounted… Liz has on occasion caught the culprit when she has had the twitches and they have always been chub too… and always caught with smelt as bait, never sprat or other bait as far as I am aware…
So due to the twitches I swapped the bait on the mackerel rod to 2 sprats (no smelt in the bag unfortunately) – same twitches but still no capture and sprats were still pristine when disposed of at the end of the session.
The ‘pop-up’ rod was varied in depth over the day from 12” to the surface… the ‘floating’ bait was tried in reaction to one re-cast I’d made that resulted in a fish ‘hitting’ the bait whilst it was still floating before I tightened the line to pull it under the surface… however, there was no further response so I’m thinking it was an inquisitive carp investigating.
So at 1515, I decided to pack down the bait tackle and have a go on lures for the last hour or so … and I fished back down to and around the corner of the pool by the car which is usually a good area for the lure but I had not one touch or follow. I’d only small Savage Gear (9.5cm) bodies with me and wished I’d taken some larger ones with me … thought there were some in the box but unfortunately not!