04/02/2023 - Pike interlude

Decided to have a break from the grayling and go and soak some deadbaits in the Soar instead. Weather forecast was breezy, but mild and the river had been running at a stable, winter level for several days, so I jumped in the van and pointed it south. 

Headed to the usual section near Kegworth and arrived just after first light to find that I had it all to myself again. Was glad to see that the beds of floating pennywort, so prevalent before Christmas, had virtually disappeared, seen off by a combination of frost, flood and herbicide applications. Walked up to the bend at the head of the section where I would be sheltered from the wind, at least for the start of the session. As on previous trips, a few chunks of old, freezer-burned mackerel were scattered in the margin as I went. Once in my starting spot I popped a joey down the nearside margin and a bluey over to the far bank, the first time I'd tried the latter as bait, and settled down to watch the floats. 

Briefly allowing my eyes to wander, I watched a little egret flap upstream and then saw a male sparrowhawk carry out a low level bombing run over the river, hopping over the flood wall at the last minute and scattering a flock of pigeons that had been quietly sat on the lawn of the house opposite. After about fifteen minutes I was just thinking to myself that I'd not yet failed to catch in this particular swim when I saw the float down the nearside disappear. Was a bit confused when I picked the rod up to find an old, sodden reed stem hanging on the line and thought for a moment that it had caused the float to sink. However, when I flicked it off the line the float failed to reappear, so I wound down to feel a satisfying weight on the end. 

This one put up more than the usual token resistance and gave me a bit of a runaround before sliding over the net. On the scales the needle bounced around the eleven pound mark, so gave myself 10lb 14oz and added it to my short list of rare Soar doubles. Gave it fifteen minutes more before making my first hop back downstream. Once again it was the mackerel in the nearside margin that wobbled off first. However, I failed to connect with anything on the strike, although the bait came back with deep slash marks down each side. Popped it back into the same place hoping something would have another go at it and saw the float dip and start to move off about five minutes later. 

This time the strike connected with a more modest, but extremely greedy specimen that coughed up a piece of my prebait and a half-digested sardine in the net. He'd also suffered some tail damage in the past that had caused a section to weirdly grow much longer than the rest. Popped him back and gave it another few minutes before again leapfrogging into the next spot downstream, where yet again it was the mackerel down the side that did the business with another jack. He'd thoughtfully left me the bait in the net, so I hooked it back on and dropped it in the same spot. Was fiddling around wondering why I couldn't get the line to stay in the clip of the drop off indicator when I realised that the bait must have been taken as soon as it hit the deck! 

Had only just banked the culprit when the drop off on the other rod hit the back rest and after a bit of juggling I ended up with two jacks side-by-side in the net, with the second fish taking the bluey that I'd re-positioned in mid-channel after a barge had passed through. Thankfully both were easily unhooked and quickly sent on their way, although it took a bit longer to sort out the resulting mess and rebait both rods. Despite that five minutes of madness I had nothing more from the swim, so moved on again. The river was getting a bit busy by now and I had to play hokey cokey with the rods to avoid barges, kayaks and rowers. Added a micro-jack and another better fish that missed the ten pound mark by a couple of ounces before I decided to pack up and head home for lunch. 

Have got my eye on a difference section of the river for my next pike session, although there's still also more grayling, chub, perch and zander to consider before the end of the season!