25/02/2016 - Sunny day on the Soar

The weather forecast - freezing overnight, then cold and sunny during the day - was probably better suited for another grayling session but, as I only had half a day off work, the drive over to Staffordshire and back wasn't really an option. 

The cold light of dawn instead found me standing on the bank of the River Soar with a few pike in my sights. I'd had bumper day last season in similar conditions, so I was hoping that the fish would be similarly co-operative. Whilst I'd already had quite a few pike to mid-doubles this season whilst out perch and zander fishing, this was actually my first proper pike session of the year! It was also the first opportunity I'd had to try out the present from the wife for my birthday in December- a Korum ruckbag.

Had the whole section to myself when I arrived and, apart from passing one jogger and one dog walker, that's how it stayed all morning. Walked upstream to my starting point and, with the rods still made up from my last session last season (!), soon had two float-legered deadbaits carefully placed in the near margin. Experience has previously shown that it's always worth trying close in early on while it's quiet and so it proved again. The upstream float was first to show signs of life and I was onto the rod before the line had even tightened to the drop-off. 

After a bit of dithering about the float eventually moved off and I wound down into the first fish of the session. The offending jack didn't put up much resistance and the healed scars on its tail looked as if it'd had a run in with a bigger fish at some stage in its life. Popped him back, retrieved the only-slightly-mangled smelt out of the landing net and swung it down the side again. Within a few minutes it was off again, the float plunging away confidently this time. However, just turned out to be another, albeit slightly bigger, turbo-charged jack. Had another one on the downstream rod before it went a bit quiet and I moved one of the baits over to the far bank. The reaction was almost instant, the float popping onto its side before heading off towards a moored boat. However, the strike met with nothing. Popped the bait back over only to have this happen twice more, with slash marks on the lamprey evidence that something had managed to pick up the bait whilst avoiding the hooks. 

There seemed to be a few fish over on the far bank, so both baits were sent over as close to the moored boats as I dared without incurring the wrath of the owners, who were beginning to stir and go about their morning business.  
This included one lady who gave me an eyeful when she drew back the curtains of her houseboat dressed in a skimpy nightdress. Unfortunately, she looked like Nora Batty, so I pretended to have a keen interest in the plane flying overhead at that point! Had three more runs in quick succession. Thankfully all of these stuck, albeit resulting in yet more bait-scoffing jacks.

The rigs on both rods were in a bit of a state by now, so I had a short breather and replaced the now pig-tailed traces. Put fresh joey and lamprey baits over to the far bank again, but the action seemed to have died a death. A stiff, upstream breeze had picked up by now and it was hard to keep track of the floats as they kept getting pulled under by the drag on the line.

Brought both rods back into the near margin, casting the upstream one a bit further towards an area where I'd seen one of the "black death" regularly diving and coming up with the occasional unfortunate silver fish clenched in its beak.    

Didn't have to wait long for this upstream rod to go off, resulting in, yep, another jack. However, rather than heralding another burst of activity, it all went very quiet again. With my time running out I upped sticks and moved a couple of swims closer to the car to see if I could sneak a decent fish at the death. Whilst the upstream float duly obliged by slowly waddling off, it wasn't the pike I was after. Packed up and headed back to the car. So no biggies, but the little 'uns kept me busy at least. I was pleased with the ruckbag as well - plenty big enough for the type of sessions I do, comfy to carry and the design makes everything really accessible. Just hope I get to use it again before the end of the season!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds an enjoyable session Ian.

    I can't buy a river pike at the mo but float-legering sounds an good tactic & I can see the sense in fishing margins early.

    Interesting stuff.