Winter pike are one of my favourite targets and so I set off to fish Lower Slade encouraged by news of a couple of twenty pounders. The weather promised to be a little drier and a howling gale meant the coast would be a challenge I did not fancy.
I have not pike fished for quite a while so it took a while to sort out a few traces and essentials before loading the car and heading for the reservoir. Two other anglers were fishing the road bank when I arrived and I was encouraged to hear that a big pike had attacked a small roach as it was retrieved.
I set up on the far bank fishing a sardine on one rod and a mackerel on the other. The baits were fished within ten yards of the bank one with a float the other using a simple running rig relying on the bite alarm for confirmation of a take. It’s then just a case of sitting back and waiting, willing the float to slide away or bite alarm to bleep. Throughout the day I moved three times hoping to locate a hungry pike. Perhaps I should have adopted a mobile approach wondering around with a lure rod but in truth I wanted to use dead baits and sit and wait. A contemplative day as the year ended was perhaps what I needed.
I blanked! Were the pike not feeding, was I in the wrong spot, was my presentation wrong?
Had I lost the knack of catching because I had not been for so long? Success is often hard won and it may take several sessions before I get the winning combination again.
I observed my fellow anglers on the far bank noting their tactics for future forays. A brace of carp had been landed including a fine common carp of 24lb 14oz. I packed away my gear as the light faded and as I drove past I stopped for a chat. Father and son Ian and Graham Wray had enjoyed a successful days sport with Graham landing carp of 24lb 14oz and 8lb. He was playing his third carp when I arrived and I was honored to wield the landing net. It was a pleasure to take a couple of pictures of a splendid common carp weighing 19lb.
Any despondency I felt following a blank day evaporated immediately and I thought that a carp session should not be too far away. And so to the New Year; so many fish to chase and so little time. I have given up making resolutions to spend more time fishing I just need to make sure I make best use of the time I have. Deciding what fish to chase is difficult with so many options.
I hope that your New Year is a good one and a successful one with a few good fish, some fun sessions and most importantly good company.