Friday, 19 September 2014

An unexpected personal best

I had arranged to go barbel fishing with a mate (Ben) on Saturday, however things came up making it a non-starter so we decided on a short stick float session today instead. The day didn't get off to the best of starts, the fridge that our maggots were in had been turned off and most of the maggots were dead, the ones that were alive smelt, were sweaty and crawling all over the fridge!

After a bit of a mess on we arrived at the car park well before light and even after a 20 minute walk to  our chosen stretch it was still dark. I was aiming to fish the stick for the dace and perch, then live bait for the bigger perch later in the session.

Tackle I used

Stick float - 14ft Drennan Acolyte Plus, Abu 506, 4.4lb Float fish, 5BB stick float, size 18 hook

Live bait - Drennan 1.25lb Series 7 Avon, 5010 reel, 6lb sensor, medium loafer float, 15lb trace, size 12 hook

My rods were already made up so I spent some time baiting the swim, 10 maggots every 20/30 seconds for about 5 minutes. I was getting bites straight away but it took a few adjustments to the rig before I started to hook the small dace. The swim was building steadily and I was getting a fish most casts. The dace on this stretch seemed larger than other parts that I'd fished this season. Although there seemed to be less, the average size was bigger and most averaged around 3oz with the odd better ones going to 6/7oz.

The perch started to show but these were smaller than I was hoping for, averaging 4oz with the best going 12oz. I had around 30 fish in the net (mostly dace and perch with 2 grayling and a small chub) when the swim died. I could see some movement in the water, a large shadow or two moving in the current, I stopped casting and fed a pinch of maggots every 10 seconds for 10 minutes. I was hoping the shadows were chub or large perch. On my next cast the float buried and I hooked another small dace, this was quickly snatched by a pike.

I grabbed a dace from the net, lightly lip hooked it and dropped it into the swim. The bait was taken instantly but I pulled it straight out of the pikes mouth. It was taken a second time and the pike was on for about 10 seconds before the line went slack.

I decided to keep the feed going in whilst fishing a live bait, nothing happened for 20 minutes and the bait went untouched. Eventually the dace was grabbed, I struck and I was confident that the hook had found a good hold. The pike fought hard on the light perch set up, I missed a chance to net it early on but I saw that it was hooked in the scissors and I was confident I would get it in. I applied pressure only when the fish was heading towards the snags and I give it line when it was in open water. Eventually I got the pike on the surface and could see it was easily a double, after a couple of failed attempts I managed to get the fish upstream of the net and allowed the current to push the fish into the waiting net.

Easily beats my 3 year old p.b
A new p.b and a smile!

The pike went 15lb 14oz and beat my old p.b by more than 2lb. The light gear performed well and although I wouldn't specifically target pike with it, it's good to know that it's capable enough to land a decent sized pike if hooked.

After the pike I only managed 2 more perch before we had to go. Ben ended up with a similar net of fish as I did but he had more perch than dace, his perch went to around the 1lb mark.

A first grayling and the lightly hooked pike

He also managed to catch his first grayling, which went 1lb 1oz and equalled my p.b. We took a detour on the way home for a pint to celebrate our new p.b's.

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