Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Hard Going but Light (Rain) at the End of the Tunnel

I've been struggling recently due to the very low river levels and last week was no exception. I had planned to go twice but after the first day I didn't bother going again, deciding I probably should start Christmas shopping, although I don't usually do that until Xmas Eve.

Anyway, on the day I went the river was the lowest I've ever seen it and crystal clear, so much so that I could see the bottom across most of the river and with it all of the snags and rubbish that was in there. I'll never understand the mentality of people who dump all manner of crap into beautiful places without conscience.

The day was tough with only 3 follows from unusually (for this stretch) small fish in the first 6 hours.. none of which looked like they were going to hit the lure. I made a move to another stretch that I've not fished this year which is generally a bit shallower, yet again hoping that the fish would be easier to locate in any deeper areas. That didn't really prove to be the case but after an hour a fish whacked the lure in shallow water. Unfortunately the strike met with nothing and all I got for my effort was a few extra slashes in the tail of my softbait. I carried on knowing that there were a few big slack areas towards the end of the stretch but, after the long trek, the river level meant that there was only a couple of feet of water in them. By now I'd pretty much resigned myself to a blank but I had a few chucks in each swim as I was there. I arrived in one of the very last swims which didn't look promising, very shallow with pacey water over a gravel bottom looking more like a typical trout swim, but on the second cast a fish hit the lure and I was finally rewarded with a pike.. not a big one at about 8lb but very welcome nonetheless.

This week has seen quite a rise in the water level but once the colour starts to drop out the fish should be well on the feed... I've just got to hit it right.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Quiet Couple of Weeks

With the rivers dropping to summer levels and being crystal clear the fishing has been difficult for the last couple of weeks.

I fished a regular stretch one day without incident until a couple of upper doubles followed my lure in on the same cast, swimming side by side, which is unusual. Neither took the lure but a couple of short casts later and one of them hit it. On the scales she went 18.09lb and although I fished for the rest of the day on that stretch and another that was the only action.

A couple of days later I went again but the river had dropped even further and the fishing had got even harder. I fished a couple of stretches without so much as a follow! I fished one swim where two pike could be seen lying on the bottom in the shallow water but no matter what I threw at them they weren't interested.. in fact, they couldn't even be bothered to move out of position even after I dropped a big lure right on their noses.

I had made plans to go for the whole weekend with a mate but after a chat we decided it just wasn't worth the effort and expense so the plan was changed and we went to a beautiful stretch of river that I've been fishing for a few years on and off. This river has always had some cracking pike in it which can often be seen in the shallow, clear water but my last trip there last year was a bit of a disappointment. I had a few fish upto 18½lb but there was no sign of any of the bigger fish. This trip proved to be the same and was hard going for the most part. We did find some fish on one stretch on the first day though. What was strange is that even though we'd fished for hours without a take between us (apart from a 2lb jack for my mate on the first cast) we had two double hook-ups within 10 minutes, with the first hook-up resulting in two pike about 9lb then the next hook-up giving us two scraper doubles. Although I missed a mid double and had a follow from an upper double, that was it for the day. We'd decided to sleep at the venue so I knocked up a spag bol and we sat under a myriad of stars having a few beers and Jack Daniels, talking fishing and taking the mick out of each other. The next day proved to be similar to the first and the only concentration of fish we could find were in the same stretch as the day before, albeit in an area further along. I was first in with a low double and a while later my mate missed a good fish which he blamed on me for talking to him. A few minutes later he missed another which looked to be a low double. He wasn't happy by now and was speechless.. which is unheard of for him! I managed another scraper double shortly after before we went back for lunch which comprised of the compulsory bacon & egg sarnies, washed down with a couple of beers. We had a longer lunch than we'd planned so decided to go back to the stretch we'd caught from for an hour. My mate had a fish about 8 or 9lb on virtually the first cast as soon as it hit the water but that was it. We had met with the fishery owner earlier in the day and after a chat he said we could go and fish an adjacent lake so we headed back to give it a go for the last hour. On the way back I dropped into the swim where a good fish had followed the previous day in the hope that it was still there and on the first cast my lure got hit. Unfortunately it wasn't the same fish and one about 6 or 7lb came in. That was it on the river so we headed off to the lake, but after doing a complete circuit we'd only had one follow each from small fish so decided to call it a day. All in all we landed 10 pike between us, 6 for me and 4 for my mate, but it was tough going.

A couple of days later I decided to get out again but went to a different stretch to where I normally fish. This stretch is made up of shallow and deeper areas within the same swims so I was hoping that the fish could be found in the deeper areas more easily than on the other stretches which have a more uniform depth. Not sure if that proved to be the case but I managed to catch a scraper double and one about 6lb, although I somehow lost 2 or 3 other pike to hook pulls.

With the rivers remaining low and clear it is tough going at the moment and with no sign of rain it isn't going to get any easier any time soon but as they say, "you've got to be in it to win it" so next week I plan on spending a couple of days out on the rivers.