Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Testing times

The things you see when fishing!
Since I got my pike mojo back and started blogging about piking hits to Lumbland have increased threefold. Here's some more piking drivel to keep you all looking in!

I haven't had much opportunity to get out of late. Not on days I've wanted to fish. Me and the cold don't mix, which has seen me staying home on the clear, frosty days, and by dint of fate cooped up waiting for deliveries on the mild ones. I don't like the wet either, but made the effort to put a full day in last Tuesday as the forecast wasn't bad. It wasn't bad at all. It was bloody rotten - as in way off the mark.

I rolled up full of enthusiasm on a mild and dry morning well before light and made my way to a far off swim which I was surprised to see had obviously been fished in the not too distant past. Undeterred I set up and awaited the first run of the day. When it came fully light I realised that I had become disoriented in the dark and was fishing a swim I had fished before Christmas. I had been the recent visitor!

As the morning wore on, runless, so the weather took a turn for the worse. First of all the wind picked up with a touch of the north in it making it borderline as to putting the brolly up for shelter. I'd intended moving at eleven thirty, but the arrival of drizzle convinced me to make the move a little sooner and erect the brolly in the new swim. Then the day settled into it's routine of a constant wind chilling me and waves of rain blowing through. behind the brolly it was almost comfortable, but the lack of pike activity was making it dreary as was the gloomy light that lasted all day long. It was one of those days when I was glad to have had enough. I'd had high hopes of a run at dusk, but I was so depressed by four o'clock that I packed up early.

The disillusionment had set in when I realised that I had seen no small fish topping or swirling at dawn. Getting  a definite sighting of a marsh harrier had briefly lifted my spirits during the morning, but the appearance of a cormorant near my floats in the later afternoon did my confidence no good either.

This week I would have ventured out on Monday in the frost and the sun, but I had to wait in for another late-arriving parcel. Tuesday I simply couldn't motivate myself to get out of bed. Today was almost a repeat when I looked through the bedroom window to see a wet street with rain making rings in the puddles. However I had spooled up three reels with some new braid I wanted to try out, and even rigged up three rods. Something made me get up, albeit a little later than I would have liked, but I felt motivated. By the time I was loading the carp the rain seemed to have stopped. It was far from cold too.

For a change there was no need for a head torch as I walked to the swim, not the one I'd had in mind when I set off. I'd got 'that feeling'. Not only did I head to a different area than my first choice, I steered clear of the spot I usually fish. Three baits were soon hooked up and cast out. Then the radio went on to continue listening to the dreary English bowling in Dubai Test Match.

Around nine another piker turned up and came for a chat and I turned the radio off. The drizzle had returned by now but it didn't stop me seeing the yellow topped float begin to wobble downstream. There was no flow at all, so it had to be getting towed along by a pike! So it was. The strike was met by the light resistance of a lively jack. As I had also gone to try out a new compact camera I asked my visitor to take a couple of snaps. I even smiled on one to illustrate to someone why I don't make a habit of smiling in my trophy shots. I look like I've left my teeth out! By the time the fish was returned, my visitor left to fish elsewhere, and a fresh bait was cast out I'd missed two Pakistan wickets falling!

Not exactly a tough test for the new braid, but it was a start. It knots well and stood up to a bench abrasion test without even furring up - it is 'round' and tightly braided.  Here's hopping it performs as reliably as it hints at doing.

The rods I'd rigged up were a couple of P-2s that I'd been using for small river barbelling. Although I'd caught some big pike with them I had come to prefer my P-5s. They're perfectly adequate for this sort of close range fishing, and you'll never need to worry about giving pike slack as they are very forgiving (bendy) and even though I've chucked six ounce leads with them on the rivers I don't like casting pike baits with them. A personal preference I guess. I like pike rods to hgave some grunt.

The drizzle abated. The sun even started to break through the cloud cover. Distant great tits chinked. A kestrel paid a brief visit to a nearby tree. A moorhen clambered onto some floating reeds and preened itself - stretching a leg and  a wing back then noticing a tasty morsel and pecking at it without toppling over. Wickets began to fall when the new ball was taken. The day was improving. Although I'd taken no food to speak of with me I put back my leaving time until close of play as I was warming up and feeling at ease with the world. By the time I made it home I was ravenous!

Getting back on the drains has seen me revising my rigs. Not in overall construction but in the detail. I've already mention the use of Korum Running Clips to attach pike floats with. I'm also using them to attach my leads in such a way they can be easily swapped from semi-fixed to running. The photo on the left shows the set-up, which is tangle-proof (as any rig can be). Unclip the clip, and replace it above the rubber bead and it's free to run on the line. If you want to do away with the float then take that and its clip off, slide the beads and stop knots down to the trace and put the lead above them. It's pretty much an all-purpose rig. If a paternoster is required just remove the lead and tie a link to the trace. Simple. I like simple.

Initially I was using 1oz leads but soon switched to 2oz jobs like I always used to use on my semi-fixed rigs. Pike really don't mind dragging these leads around.

This winter has been an odd one for weather. It might not suit some pikers who think it has to be cold to catch pike, but I'll take this winter so far over the last two bitter ones we've had. Who knows, we might even get a red hot summer this year. Now that would be a novelty!