Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
My pal Nigel is much better organised and equipped than me. At this time of the year he is quite keen on trotting the stream for grayling. Now our local stretch of river holds some big grayling and to judge from Nigel's recent catches this winter seems to be a good one. About a third of the fish he's been catching in the past week or two have been over two pounds in weight. Some of the fish were substantially above this and he's had a few round the two-and-a-half pound mark. The other day he rang me up and asked if I'd like to join him for an hour's fishing in the afternoon. Now as I've said Nigel uses decent gear. He has a long float rod and a free running centrepin which he uses to fish just over depth. His size twelve hook was baited with maggots and not long after I joined him he was playing a two pounder to his net. Superb.
Rather than be shown up by my pal catching grayling I'd decided to try wobbling a deadbait for pike. My spinning rod was armed with a short wire trace, a 4/0 circle hook and a frozen fish hooked through both lips. I wasn't very hopeful in the icy conditions but I gave it a go. Minutes after my first cast, to my surprise, the bait was taken by a pike. I commented to my pal, who was just downstream, that I had a fish on and he wound in to pick up the net. As he came towards me the pike which had started to turn the bait suddenly shot ot into the river dragging the rod round. I hadn't tightened the line so I was taken by surprise. When I closed the bale arm and wound in the line I discovered that the fish had dropped the bait and the line was snagged round a sunken branch. Bugger! Clearly the pike had felt the resistance of the snag and rocketed away before dropping the bait. It wouldn't come again.
Encouraged by the bite I wandered on upstream leaving my pal to his grayling. It was probably an hour before I had another bite as the bait drifted down in midstream. This time there was no cock up and after a short fight I netted a pike of about nine pounds. I took one or two pictures and then returned the fish. Excellent.
A few days later Nigel and I went fishing again. This time I'd steeled myself to try for grayling. I knew that I couldn't compete on the float fishing front so I decided to use a light leger on my old light spinning rod. Again Nigel had several big grayling and I managed a couple on the legered maggots but they were only about a pound each. Slightly disappointing! We were in the middle of a cold spell and the following day I decided to try again on my own. It was pretty slow to start off with and in the first half hour I only had one tentative knock which I missed. I was holding the rod and feeling for bites so my back was beginning to ache a bit when suddenly I had a good pull, struck and found myself playing a heavy fish. To be honest it felt rather like an eel, writhing and wriggling as I drew it in against the strong flow. It was a few minutes before the fish was close enough to net and I could see by the big waving fin that it was a large male fish. When I eventually landed and weighed it, it was just a smidgeon over three pounds - fantastic! After that I had one more good pull which I missed through lack of concentration (put it down to cold hands) so that was my only fish of the session but well worth standing about in the icy wind for.
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Nice one Nigel.