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).
Back to cold reality.
Following our return from 40 degree temperatures in Australia it was a bit of a struggle to drag myself out into the chilly air of Dorset in February. However, in the calm before storm Ciara, there were two or three really pleasant calm days, so I made the effort.
In fact it was a fine, sunny afternoon; having checked that I had some usable, two month old maggots in the fridge, I grabbed my gear and set off for the river. Twenty minutes of maggot trotting produced only a single bite and one modest dace suitable for bait. The afternoon was moving on and it was getting cooler so I decided at this point to spend the remaining half-hour trying to catch a pike. I swapped rods and with a size 6/0 circle hook on my wire trace and a split, half-cork from a wine bottle as a float I shifted to a pikey looking pool on the river. On went the bait and in went the float. Now it was a matter of finding a pike. It is always interesting to try and search a pool by choosing a suitable stance and then persuading the bait to cover every inch of water. Needless to say the fish don't always cooperate and they will frequently try and burrow into overhanging vegetation. This bait was no different and it was some time before I managed to cover even half the pool. After twenty five minutes the little fish had tired a bit and it drifted into the central area of slack water about 15 metres from where I stood. There was a sudden swirl and the float shot under. I drew the line taut and waited until I felt a knock as the pike turned the bait, then I tightened and the fish swam off strongly, hooking itself in the process.
The pike took a bit of line against the tight clutch but it was no match for my gear and before long I drew it over the net and slid it onto the wet grass. The fish weighed about seven pounds, it was in good nick and nicely hooked in the side of the upper jaw. After I'd taken a couple of pictures I returned it to the river and it swam off strongly. By now I was feeling a bit chilly and being baitless I decided to pack in. At least it was good to have caught something.
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About 7lb and in good condition - is there a bigger one in the pool?
Perfectly hooked, text book fashion, behind the maxilla.
A quick selfie before I put it back.