Friday, 14 March 2014

A frustrating end to the season

This week in-between school runs I somehow managed to get out for at least a couple of hours each day.


I arrived at the stretch I planned to fish but there were already 2 cars in the car park and as it is a small stretch I decided to move on. I got the map out and headed for a stretch further upstream, this part of the river turned out to be fairly shallow and I wasn't very confident, but as I had limited time I decided to give it ago anyway.

I had a rod out for the chub and a dead bait out for the pike, I roved a 300m stretch moving every 20 minutes or so, but nothing happened and I failed to catch.

A shallow stretch, more suited to the warmer months

I travelled further upstream to an area which has produced large pike this winter but on seeing the river I knew it was going to be difficult. The river was very low and extremely clear and with the bright sunshine conditions were against me, other than watching a kingfisher catch minnows nothing noteworthy happened and the session turned into another blank.


After a 40 minute drive I arrived at a different river just before first light, the fog was thick and freezing and I wasn't really dressed appropriately. Again I had a rod for the chub and a rod for pike and despite the initial excitement of a early bite on the chub rod (which was missed) nothing else
materialised and the session turned into yet another blank. The weather horrendous and the freezing fog didn't lift from the valley all morning even after the 40 minute drive home I was still cold.

Freezing fog lasted all morning

I decided to change tactics and to stay as mobile as possible. With just a heavy lure outfit I arrived at the stretch of river just after 1000hrs and spent 30 minutes in the nearest pegs throwing various lures. I managed to cast into a tree and lost a lure, whilst I was tying on a new trace I saw a very large perch (4lb +) chasing fry in the margins. I quickly cast a small shad into the area but the perch soon spooked and swam back into the mid river depths. (area noted for future, lighter lure sessions)

I then decided to walk the river bank for a couple of miles and fish the obvious spots on the way back. After 40 minutes of walking I started fishing again a few casts later I had a large replicant stuck in a snag, eventually I managed to free the lure by straightening the single.

Strong tackle helped retrieve this snagged lure
I changed the lure for a large shad and aimed a cast at the far bank, as the lure approached the far
bank I started slowing the line with my thumb, I then realised that the lure wasn't slowing and the line had parted ! The break was caused by a failed knot from the mono backing to the braid, I think that the knot was weakened by repeatedly going through the rod guides. Somehow I stopped myself from launching the rod into the river.

4 blanks in a row !


After the previous 4 days of blanking I decided to stay local and lure fish stretches of river that I know well. I was down the river for 0615hrs fish were topping, the weather was warm but slightly overcast and I was quietly confident of a fish. Again I was using my heavy lure rod a DLST Sledgehammer II, casting various large lures castaics, replicants, hell hounds etc... But after an hour my initial optimism had all but disappeared, I walked further upstream and spent another 30 minutes without so much as a knock. I then went for some breakfast, I was going to call it a day but didn't want to end the season on a blank.

I spent an hour fishing the stretch that goes through the town centre, again this was un-eventful and no pike were landed. I decided to pay a visit to my banker water, each time I have fished it I have at least hooked into a pike. The pike in this water are generally small, but after 4 blanks in a week I couldn't care less.

After 15 minutes at my banker water I hooked into a pike, the pike put up a spirited scrap for about 20 seconds then gave in. Finally a pike was landed ! not a monster but I had ended the run of blanks. I decided against any further cast and headed home.

Final day pike
That's my river season finished and to be honest I'm pleased it's over.

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