Been down to the river again and after the recent rain the river was falling with a tinge of colour in it.. perfect conditions for a few fish.
I started fishing about 6.45am with no-one around and to the cries of a pair of buzzards circling low overhead it was one of those mornings you are glad to be a fisherman.
I fished a few swims without incident apart from one lost pike and landing a jack about 5lb. After fishing a few more swims in the faster part of the stretch it dawned on me that the extra water pushing down had probably moved the pike to slower areas and nearer to the bank. Fishing downstream I lost another fish which looked to be approaching double figures and lost yet another one! Things weren't going to plan!
I altered my approach slightly and started concentrating on the margins, but fished the middle of the river after the margin spots had been covered with the lure. It was tough going even though the river looked perfect, if a little pacey. I got to a swim and again pitched my big softbait around the fallen tree but again nothing came out for a closer inspection until I chucked the lure in a tiny gap between the tree and the bank. I hadn't even started retrieving the lure when a decent pike shot out and nailed it in full view, and after a good fight she went in the net. On the scales she went 14.13lb and fought me all the time I had her on the bank. Unfortunately the self-take photo's didn't come out very well but no matter.
I carried on and a few swims later another fish came from within a foot of the bank but much smaller at about 5-6lb then in the same swim a low double hit the lure but failed to hook up.. she then followed it in half a dozed times before getting fed up with my ugly mug and disappearing.
On I went and arrived at the last few swims which everyone keeps telling me are hotspots for pike, although I'd not yet had a take in any of them! Got to the last of those swims, cast the lure along the bank and started the retrieve. About half way back the lure got hit hard by what was obviously a good fish. I set the hooks and she went berserk; I slackened off the drag slightly as she was making strong runs and shaking her head, both on the surface and below. She never gave up but after a few nerve wracking minutes, with me praying for her to stay on, I netted her at the first attempt. It was obvious that it was the best fish I'd had from this stretch. I left her in the net while I got the scales and set the camera up for a self-take but luckily a chap and his son had seen me hook it so came for a look. I lifted her out and she was bigger than I first thought, being very wide across her back and head. Her mouth was immense, along with her dental work.
She was a beautiful fish and even with an empty stomach she went 22.07lb on the scales.. my first 20 from this stretch and to say I was happy was an understatement (although I must smile more on camera)..
After that I went back to the car for lunch and to swap my gear for a light outfit with the intention of trying for a chub on a lure. I've never tried this before but have seen chub in the stretch. I fished several swims with no takes when suddenly a fish hit my small crankbait mid river in fast, shallow water. A mate of mine who fishes for chub told me a while back that they hit hard but this one must have been swimming straight at me as there was a slight hit before I set the hooks. Not big at about 1½lb but my first chub on a lure.
A few casts later the lure got hit with a hard thump and somehow I missed it but shortly afterwards another chub about 2lb came to the net, followed by a much smaller one about ½lb.
I fished on until I came to some deeper swims and thought I'd try for a perch but apart from a few small ones nipping at the tail of my shad I had nothing so went back to the car to get my pike gear out again for an evening spell.
Off I set again to the end of the stretch and in the third swim a good pike hit mid river. On the scales she went 15.07lb (again; I seem to catch a few at this weight here!)..
I thought I'd be on for another fish or two but after fishing the entire stretch had no other takes so packed up about 9pm exhausted. It was a marathon of a day fishing over 14 hours in total but with 5 pike and 3 chub to show for it, it was well worth the effort.