11/09/2015 - Earning my stripes

Back home and no trips to the coast forthcoming until October, so my thoughts have turned to river predators. Had a "trotanoster" session on the River Soar to see if there were any perch about to kick things off. Upon arrival, I found that I had the whole stretch of river to myself, so was able to wander up at leisure to my favoured swim downstream of a weir on a nice, natural section off the navigable channel. Obviously hadn't been fished much judging by the undergrowth, so I nearly trod in the plastic tub filled with what looked like cat food in the middle of the path - curious!  

River was low and clear and I could see large numbers of silver fish hanging off the cabbages and streamer weed. As soon as I got the float rod going it was a bite a chuck, mostly from chub and dace, but also bleak, roach, small perch and skimmers.  Could just make out a pale, torpedo ghosting around the swim, so wasn't surprised when the water erupted in front of me as a pike tried to snatch the roach I was lifting out of the water. He stuck around for a bit after that, hanging just under the surface and taking a mild interest in every fish I put back, before finally drifting off and leaving me alone.  As soon as I'd got a few baits together I dropped the paternoster onto the crease between the flow and slack area to my right. Wasn't long before the tip jabbed down and the indicator smacked into the back rod rest. This carried on happening on a regular basis throughout the session - unfortunately, whilst it was down to my target species, they were not the size I was after!

Had eight of the little buggers and numerous stolen or mangled baits before the rod tip went over again I was into something more sizeable. I knew that this was a better perch from the head-banging and so it proved. A very hollow and slightly battered old warrior, but my first 2lb+ perch of the autumn at 2lb 4oz.

Quickly popped another bait out in the expectation that he'd have a companion with him. Again, it wasn't long before the rod started tapping and then hooped over. However, I knew from the solid weight that it wasn't a stripey, confirmed when a spotty missile (possibly my friend from earlier) went airborne and tail-walked through the swim. Eventually got him under control and in the net, where I tried to unhook him, rather than take him up the bank.

Unfortunately he span on my hand, driving two, long teeth on his lower jaw into the ball of my thumb. Aside from the copious blood at the time, I've still got a numb thumb, so I'm hoping he's not done me some nerve damage. My stupid fault if he has! Fished on until dark, catching a few more silvers on the float, but had nothing more on the paternoster - not surprising given the disturbance from the pike. Wandered back the the car by the light of the head torch, noting on the way that the plastic tub was now empty. Even more curious!

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