Friday, 2 February 2007

Pixie Dust

It's been a dour start to the year, especially after the wonderful catch on Boxing Day. I'd had a couple of morning sessions in January with nothing to show at all and I was conscious that the season was running out. As it turned out, we had some pretty extreme weather leading up to the end of the Season during which the rivers were totally unfishable, and to cap it all, the EA in their supreme incompetence emptied the river for the last two weeks of the Season as well.

However, this morning dawned grey, but exceptionally mild yet again, with air temperatures up to 12c, but with water temperatures around 7 1/2c. It was a still day without a breath of a breeze and a little drizzle later in the morning did nothing to dampen the softness of the day. I walked the long walk to my favorite spot, armed with rods and deadbaits not knowing that this was to be my penultimate morning on the river before seasons end.
I started at the far end again planning to walk back towards the car, and put one bait out amongst the overhanging trees, the other on the far bank. Within minutes the float in the trees was dancing it's dance and I immediately lifted into the fish, even before the float moved off. I like to strike as quickly as possible in every case. If I miss the fish, then fine - it was a small one anyway! But I hate having to deal with deeply hooked pike, not because it's difficult, it actually isn't very often, but because it's unnecessary. That's also one reason I like to fish with floats where practical, it's much easier to see what's going on.

Anyway, I didn't miss the fish - it was nicely hooked in the front of the mouth. It weighed fifteen pounds on the button and as I finished weighing it and was ready to put it back, the alarm on the other rod blipped and the float fell flat on the water - I was in again! I quicly put the fifteen pounder in the weigh sling and lowered it into the water whilst picking up the rod and lifting into the fish. The first fish fell to smelt, probably my most used and therefore most effective deadbait. But this fish had taken sardine. I like sardine. They are cheap, easily obtainable and smelly. But I've not caught much on them. Strange but no matter how much I use them, other baits like mackerel and smelt seem to be more efficient at putting fish on the bank. I have loads of confidence in them though, I just know they've got to work!

This one did!
The fish put up a powerful fight, using its' weight against the rod. This was Lumby's other rod the P1, and its 2 3/4 test curve coped really well with the weight of the fish and the powerful surges it displayed. But it slipped into the net eventually - the biggest fish I have ever landed for myself. I couldn't lift it easily either, so I didn't. Instead I left it in the net, in the water, leaned over the bank and unhooked the fish in the water. The capaciousness of the net allowed it to fold over the fish's head which kept it quiet. meanwhile, I phoned Franc and asked her very nicely to walk down to take the photographs. She very kindly did so and I have my first brace picture after 19 years.

Oh, the weight? Well, the fish took the scales to 26.04 and I was very happy with that. Another personal best. I praised Lumby's rod on the P & P Forum as the first fish on the P1 was a twenty and the third fish on the BB350 was a twenty. In fact, so far I have only caught doubles on both of them. they do seem to have turned my fortunes around. I received many nice comments about the fish and a bit of mickey taking about the fact that it's twice thirteen pounds.

Dave Lumb reckons he sprinkles his rods with pixie dust.
I believe him!