Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Beating the Boxing Day Blues

Frankie was flying off to Madeira this morning with her friend Jo for a week, so in keeping with tradition, I decided to walk down to the river with just a lure rod and one bait rod.

It was mild with a still, quiet atmosphere as I trudged the long walk to my favorite, out of the way stretch. No mist to speak of, but overcast and placid. It was Boxing Day and I hoped that this far down, the river would be peaceful without too many dog walkers or children.

I started at the far end, putting out the deadbait rod whilst I cast lures around trying to drum up some interest. I intended to slowly make my way back to the car fishing different areas as I went. After an hour or so casting under interesting trees and bushes I hadn't had a touch on lures or the deadbait so I started to move back towards the car.

As I got towards the middle of this stretch I put the bait at the back of the river, where I had seen a fish strike back in September, and continued to lure fish. On checking the float in between casts, I saw it bob and dance before steadily moving off. I picked up the rod and lifted into the fish, which had taken a smelt, and, after a short but spirited tussle managed to get the obvious double into my small landing net. I really wasn’t geared up for catching fish, so you can see what mind set I had when I set out this morning! all I had was the lure bag, smaller net (with telescopic pole to navigate the steep banks) scales and no pike tube. It was to get worse!

Anyway I managed to get the fish onto the bank and weighed it in the net. At 14 pounds six ounces it was my biggest UK river fish believe it or not. After more than 14 years of fishing this river, I had finally caught a decent pike!

After carefully photographing and releasing the fish, I put on another smelt and cast the bait back out to the same place and carried on lure fishing. After half an hour or so I again moved the bait this time to the tree stump on the far bank and twenty minutes later I was in again. This fish weighed nearly 11 pounds and so was my second biggest fish from this river. I was having quite a good day. I put a half mackerel back over by the stump and continued lure fishing, but the pike float bobbed again within minutes and soon I was into another fish which ripped away on the strike, before I could gradually coax it back. It felt like another good fish, and it went on another short but very powerful run. When I finally saw it on the surface, I thought it might be a 20 and then panicked about landing it! My smaller net was seemingly inadequate for this fish! However, I managed to get its head in and then as most of its body followed I quickly lifted it onto the grassy bank.

It was another personal best! My biggest pike and biggest fish from the river. My second twenty pound fish in 3 months! I was very pleased as the pictures show. I could not measure the fish and had to weigh her in the net, but to have three doubles from the river in one day including one twenty was too much. I sat down finished off my coffee and had a couple of smokes trying hard not to smile inanely at the scenery.
I caught nothing on the lure rod all morning, but maybe I enticed the pike to feed or maybe it was just a good day for feeding pike – who knows?

And I christened my Lumby BB350 rod too.