Monday, 16th November, at 0700 I set off with Liz on a pike fishing session to Pike Water 5 arriving at around 0730.
With the gates to the venue still locked on arrival it was obvious that we were the first there and thus have our choice of swims. So, Liz’s first job was to open up the gates for business and we drove down to the pool car parking area, parked up and had a quick recce at the pool.
Liz had fancied one particular area, myself fancied another as I felt that, although I do fish in the area of Liz’s choice quite often when on my own that it was really a one swim area – although it transpired that someone fishing what would have been the ‘2nd’ swim did actually land a pike from there that we saw landed. Anyway, in the event, we fished my choice of area, 2 swims next door to each other on a straight tree lined bank with a number of available and promising swims that we’d successfully fished often in previous visits over the years. But a few years back the controlling club had a ‘clean-up’ work party and in my view cut back too much and too many of fish attracting overhanging branches, etc. One swim that used to produce some decent chub from by the overhangs hasn’t produced one chub to me since – probably over 3-4 years.
Anyway, the swims must be good as several later arrivals to the pool said we’d ‘stolen the swims’ they had intended to fish … should have gotten out of bed then, no sympathy, LOL! Of 7 late arrivals, 4 of them decided to set up in the swims directly each side of Liz and I … not good etiquette in my view, especially as there 26 swims available around the pool … leaving one swim free either side would have least shown some courtesy or even if we were asked if we minded if they fished the next door swims that would have been acceptable … but whatever. Personally when taking up a swim on a pool I use ‘urinal’ etiquette ie keep a comfortable distance away from the nearest neighbour – and on rivers I don’t fish from a peg directly opposite another angler.
Anyway, swims decided upon, we began the transfer the kit from the car – and for some reason the combined kits of Liz and myself seem to have grown for some reason so a good job that after the October holiday I’d only left one seat (of 5) in the rear area. OK – so it was pike fishing which does involve an extra bag and other items of pike gear beyond the normal load including the livebait bucket but that has now been replaced by the new foldable one as mentioned in the last posting and hence takes up less space than its previous incarnation AND 4 landing nets as the club stipulates a minimum landing net size of 36” when pike fishing … and Liz’s and my own usual nets are 32” circular ones … and so we had to pack our larger pike nets too which are quite large and bulky as both are hefty framed with heavily rubberised nets. Anyway its a good job that we have a Ford Galaxy, 7-seater, MPV capable of holding it all – but even then the motor was full despite having 4 of the rear seats removed!
On arrival we did manage to get all the gear bar the rod holdalls onto my barrow and a Liz guided trolley down to the swims making a return trip to collect and transport the rod holdalls but as the distance from car to swims was around 100-120 yards that wasn’t a great ordeal.
Liz tackled up her one pike rod (Ron Thompson Evo2, 2.75lb TC – 30lb braid – 2oz lead – size 6 treble snap tackle) for ledger fishing deadbaits starting with a smelt bait) and I started off with a 13’ float rod, 4lb line, 6BB crystal waggler, size 16 hook fishing for livebaits.
My livebait catching started off slow with not a touch for the first 30 minutes or so whilst fishing with the bait set at the 10’ depth of the water in front of me .. but noticing dimples of fish I set my float to fish the bait at about 30” with the set spread down the line and immediately started getting takes and although a lot of bites were missed I did manage to accumulate 7-8 suitably bait sized silvers by 1030 and at that point I put away the bait rod and set up one pike rod (12’, 2.75lb TC, 30lb braid, etc) for floatfishing a livebait.
I hook my livebaits through the scissors of the top lip with the mid-trace hook as this is the ‘load bearing’ hook and the end hook is hooked on an loose/unstretched wire through the bait’s actual dorsal fin as I feel this to be less damaging to the bait fish which can often be returned virtually unharmed at the end of its use – the lip having been the only fleshy body part that has been pierced. The livebaits I use are usually in the swing-in range of sizes in normal fishing eg 2-4oz silvers and when pike fishing my ‘extreme long range’ fishing is about 10 yards out and more usually lies in the range of the float lying against the bank to about 10 feet out. To be honest I’ve never ever had a pike take a bait further out than that on deads, lives or lures although I’ve put baits out up to 60 yards or more over the years – and still do occasionally ‘just in case’. So normally putting the bait out is nothing more than a gentle pendulum swing action, nothing violent. At the end of the session, or earlier (hourly) if I have enough baits, if the bait’s not been taken by a pike then its released virtually unharmed.
At 1350 I had my first (and last) take of the day which resulted in a 6lb 10oz pike being landed….
Meanwhile Liz had no action from her swim despite swapping her bait to a sardine….
Just after landing my pike unforecast rain started and so we fished on until about 1445 and decided with the rain and the failing light – and all the other anglers having packed in or in the process of doing so – it was time to tackle down and head home …. and due to ‘lockdown’ doing that without the usual stop off at our local hostelry.
OOOOPPSSSSS … A ‘SEMI-DISASTER’ AVERTED…
So we arrived home and unloaded the car per usual with the barrow and trolley left on the drive whilst the rest of the gear was taken into the garage and whilst doing those transfers I noticed the silver knurled knob of the sprung pin mechanism that locks the barrow’s rear legs down in use was lying on the driveway… a small but important part that without the barrow becomes virtually useless. A search around in the now dim ambient light, and with the use of the penlight I carry on my fishing waistcoat, failed to locate the missing pin and spring though and it seemed as if the mechanism had come apart whilst loading the car up at the site and probably lost in the mud… So, bedtime on the night I was on my Android tablet looking for a replacement barrow … and found one actually on eBay that was in Wolverhampton at a Buy-It-Now £100 and with the bidding standing at £50 with 3 days to go. However, I had doubts in my mind about size, shape and compactness to transport and so, unlike the ‘normal’ me, I didn’t immediately place a bid thinking I’d wait and see if anything else popped up. Good job too! I got up in the morning and thought that I’d just make another quick check on the driveway … and lo and behold … the missing pin and spring part was located having rolled into a crevice twixt the drive surface and its containing wall! So, I’ve now cleaned up the pinb/spring part – removed some rust – and today I’m going to grease/lubricate it and then re-install on the barrow frame and screw its knob back on after putting some epoxy glue on the threads to prevent it unscrewing again.
Its now looking like Monday 23rd for my next trip as I’ll not have the gear re-sorted in time for the usual Thursday session. What the session will be is undecided too … depends if Liz is coming out again and what she fancies doing if so… and myself, if I should be going solo, am still fluctuating between going for bream/perch or doing another pike session…
I forgot to get the thermometer out at the start of the session so the measurements here are actually of a single reading taken around 1300….
AIR: MIN: 10.9’C MAX: 10.9’C
WATER: MIN: 9.3’C MAX: 9.3’C