06/03/2020 - Pike by design

I've caught a few pike this season whilst fishing for other species, but not yet had a dedicated session for them. With time running out I thought I'd better put that right, so I dusted down the pike gear and purchased a couple of packs of extortionately priced deadbaits from the tackle shop.

Looking at the river information on .GOV.UK my local River Soar looked to be the best bet. The level was spot on, the only issue being whether the water clarity had improved sufficiently. Arriving at the venue at first light, a quick glance in the margins confirmed that there was good visibilty with just a tinge of colour - perfect! Walked upstream to my starting point through swathes of flood debris littering the towpath. An overnight frost also meant that it was nice and firm underfoot, but looking at the clear sky I suspected it wouldn't last long and that everything would turn into a quagmire once the sun came up! Soon had the traps set with a float-legered joey and a lamprey section soaking in the near-side margin and settled down to wait. Within 15 minutes the downstream float registered some interest down below. As it started to waddle off I wound down into what felt like a nice fish that put up some token resistance, then came into the bank like a sack of spuds.

Was just drawing it up out of the depths to the net when it decided to wake up. Saw a nice big tail pattern on the surface as it crash-dived back to the bottom and then spat the still-frozen mackerel!

Was obviously disappointed, but I took that to be a good sign that there were fish about and that they were in the mood. However, as the sun climbed higher, the floats remained stubbornly motionless. By mid-morning I'd had to shed my coat as it felt more like a summer's day and I was beginning to regret that lost fish even more. I'd leap-frogged the rods downstream a couple of times to no avail and was ready to do so again when a chap came walking up the towpath and stopped to have a chat. After about 15 minutes I was wondering when he was going to bugger off and leave me alone when the downstream float bobbed a couple of times and the disappeared. This one put up a bit more of a fight and, after a hairy moment when a flying treble snagged in the landing net, I had what looked like a low double on the bank. Went 12lb dead on the scales, so another one to add to my growing list of those "rare" Soar doubles.

Whilst it had been fortuitous for my companion to turn up when he did, I had to be home at lunchtime, so as soon as he left I got back to the business of leap-frogging the rods downstream. By the time I'd got to the end of the section I'd had another five fish, but nothing matching that first one. 

However, given the slow start, I was pretty happy with the session and I made my way back to the car, slipping and sliding along the now-defrosted and very muddy towpath. Next stop Wales for the brother-in-law's 40th, then we'll see what the last week of the season will bring - it's all up in the air at the moment!

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