Another much anticipated trip to Penton Hook yesterday and similar tactics to last time, ledgered sprat or sardine... They seemed to prefer sea fish.
Our chosen swim was occupied so we found a similar spot, fast water with overhanging trees and it wasn't long before I had a run. A dropped run, the sprat came back covered in tooth-marks, would have made a good photo but excitement meant it was cast straight back out...
About an hour later another positive run on a sprat, a great fight and an old friend, the seventeen pounder I caught two weeks ago (although I didn't know it until I compared the photos). A cracking start, especially as we'd all put a fiver in for a sweep on the biggest fish!
Blow torch sausages!
With a fish banked Dan started on the sausage sandwiches, the cooker thing had run out of gas so he used a blow torch... Which was pretty cool!
Got me! 7lb 12oz
An hour or so later I had the classic ledger run, this time on sardine. Click... Click click... Click click click... Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.... Cue Jaws music! 7lb 12oz, not much of a fight in the water but a spirited battle on the unhooking mat!
Dan was keen to unhook the first pike he caught, so I showed him how to open their mouths and extract the hook without harming the pike or getting bitten... And with that the pike got me! Not a good demonstration!
Darren and I decided to sit it out and wait for a run but Dan decided to go in search of his first pike and it wasn't long before I heard a shout. His first run and his first pike was on, I got there with the net to see an ecstatic Dan and a pike waiting to be netted.
Dan's first pike, 6lb 11oz, sprat deadbait.
6lb 11oz, mission accomplished! I opened her mouth and Dan did the unhooking duties. Although he wasn't keen on holding her jaw for the photo.
Right then, time for lunch... That'll be sausage sandwiches....
I interrupted cooking with another run on sardine, another great fight (I love river pike) and a 10lb 7oz pike. Darren filmed most of the proceedings, I'll put the video on here when he sends it to me. A second double!
Second double, 10lb 7oz
Darren had a feeder rod and a pike rod out. A bite on his feeder rod and a good fish on, when it was about half way cross the river I spotted it - a pike, looked like a double. But it bit through his line... Bad luck, if only it had been on his pike rod.
Another run on my ledgered sardine and a 10lb 15oz pike, my third double of the day! Continuing my lucky streak, every dog has his day!
Doubles hattrick, 10lb 15oz
We fished on into the dark but no more runs, and the sweep was mine. But Dan didn't care, he's in the pike club now... We'll all be back...
We've heard there is the odd Wandte barbel still feeding so Dan and myself have hit the river a couple of times, end of last week and this evening trying to find one. The cold weather has killed-off most of the weed, but the river is still very low and clear so we've been targeting some deeper holes.
Session last week where we fished the last couple of hours of daylight, but just a small roach to me and an eel to Dan. So this evening we tried again, a barbel about 5lb lost at the net...
Another trip to Penton Hook yesterday and as Darren is away on holiday Dan and myself decided on a much more leisurely start time of 10am... Still meant getting up at eight, but we could do most of the journey on trains, bike riding was minimal!
A simple set up of 3oz ledger, bead, swivel, wire trace and single barbless treble hook. And a choice of small roach or sprat deadbait. The plan was to spend about half an hour in each swim until we found a pike.
The first spot looked devoid of life so we moved and fished against far side features. It wasn't long before I had a run on dead roach and a 4lb 0oz pike.
4lb pike on ledgered roach, a pike before breakfast, great!
With a pike already banked Dan started on the sausage sandwiches, you can't beat sausage sandwiches and pike fishing, a natural combination!
The cook. Beers were for later, not for breakfast.
Another run and a pike on, this one went right up the river in big strong runs. The water is perfectly clear so you can see the pike almost instantly, I got the pike right to the net before she shook her head and spat the hook. Looked about 8lb, would have been a Thames PB.
Next cast and I had an instant run. I winched the fish half way across the river before she knew she was hooked, I thought there wasn't going to be any fight at all, but it looked like a twenty so I was eager to get her in the net. Then she woke up and put up a cracking fight, this fish ran downstream and made 2 hundred foot runs and found a snag twice.
After some heart stopping moments I got her over the net. The net wasn't really big enough but somehow Dan got her in there - gold star for Dan. He then picked the net straight up breaking the net pole - remove Dan's gold star!
The pike had a massive head and a long skinny body and went 17lb 12oz, but judging from the length she'll be a 20 by March, I hope to see her again then. My first Thames double - fantastic!
A long lean 17lb 12oz pike on ledgered sprat.
A new sprat was cast across, and much to Dan's disbelief another instant run. Not much of a fight except for briefly hitting a snag, or so I thought, when I got her in there were tooth marks where she'd been grabbed by a larger pike. The pike went 8lb 8oz, I'd like to meet the one that grabbed it!
8lb 8oz pike, lucky escape with a few tooth marks.
Dan was fishing exactly the same set-up as me, bait was from the same batch of sprats and the baits were fairly close together but all the runs were on my rod. Fishing is weird like that sometimes.
I did bring a second rod to catch some livebaits should the deadbaits be ignored, but we both decided to stick to the deadbaits. So I put on a ledger and we took it in turns to fish against features.
I was first into the action, hooking and loosing what must have been a barbel (although we didn't see it). Dan was next up and we're pretty sure he hooked a carp, again we didn't see it. Everything seemed to be feeding today. Dan wrapped up the ledgering with a gudgeon - but neither of us fancied it for livebait - lucky day.
My pike rod was away again and a tail walking, acrobatic 7lb 0oz pike was landed. A really beautiful green and gold fish on a sprat.
7lb 0oz, pike number four.
Another sprat was cast back to the same spot and a pike picked it up on-the-drop. I winched it half way towards me before it woke up and shot down the river, eventually finding a snag. It was stuck, I put the bait runner on waited for it to swim out, when it did I wound down and the fish went straight back into the snag - and they say they're stupid! I eventually got it to the net and it went 11lb exactly, two doubles!
11lb 0oz, second Thames double.
Me and Dan swapped where we were fishing, I was willing him to catch a pike, I know he'll be hooked once he gets one. And we couldn't work out why all the runs were on my rod. Time for a pork pie, a beer and a bit of a think...
Another run, yeah on my rod, this time on ledgered roach (we were running low on sprats). And my sixth pike of the session went 7lb 11oz. Sorry Dan.
7lb 11oz, my tenth Thames pike.
We had intended to fish until 3 o'clock, but couldn't tear ourselves away and we fished into darkness... Unfortunately no pike for Dan, but there's always next time... Can't wait...
Confusion over Kevin the Koi: Stuart sent me a photo of Kevin (top) and when we compared it with the koi Dan and I caught, it's a different fish. Very similar, it even has damage to the same side - probably related. My vote is to call the new one Kylie, though I'm sure about the process of naming a fish - is there a form?
I'm pretty bored with my cold now, so despite still feeling under the weather I decided to wrap up warm and go in search of a Wandte roach. I had to really, my nice fresh maggots, now a week old, have almost completed their life-cycle and I was worried about opening the fridge and finding a swarm of flies!
Bite first cast and another monster gudgeon, then I started getting little rattling roach bites, I kept the feed going in and the bites got more and more positive until I hit one resulting in a 10-12oz roach (above). I was feeling confident so I didn't weigh it, I was going to wait for his pound plus brothers. Next cast resulted in a big fat minnow (the first from the Wandte). All was going well...
Suddenly I heard a splash and lots and lots of screaming as a small child fell from the high bank into the river, I've read about situations like this, apparently you don't think you just react, I however thought.
I thought I'm about to get really cold, and I did!
If you were one of the people who walked past and saw a soaking wet fisherman clutching a soaking wet child as mum knelt on the floor praying, I was rescuing her, not teaching her to swim, no need for the dirty looks.
I did think about asking mum to say a prayer to the roach gods for me, but it wasn't really the right time.
Wet and chilled to the bone I headed for home - good work on the keeping warm front Brian!
A trip to Blenheim Palace today with Sean from Fishmail, the early morning water looked great, the sky was overcast and there was a light breeze, perfect for pike fishing. And we were the only boat on the water!
We started off trolling, and 40 minutes later Sean had a run on a small roach deadbait and a 9lb 0oz pike, below. A cracking start. I had a couple of bumps on a plug before Sean had another run, he was caught in a snag - or so we thought before a bigger fish powered away - but pulled the hook. Seconds later he had a third run, but the fish dropped the bait. They seemed to be feeding.
Then the sun came out and all went quite, we trolled right around the lake before settling into a spot to wait for the fish to come back on the feed, we'd only been there a few minutes before I had a run - but the pike dropped the bait.
Hours passed but the fish weren't playing.
As the light was fading and we were running out of time, Sean had another run on roach deadbait. He hit the fish and it powered off, it put up a great fight while I wound in the other rods, moved the ores and set up the net (it's a busy job when you're not the one connected to the fish).
The pike fought well above it's weight before Sean got it over the net. She went 12lb 6oz, and they say still water pike don't fight! What a fantastic fish.
We had a few more trolls over the area until darkness descended and it was time to head back to the boathouse. Well done Sean, revenge for our trip to Chew! Thank you I had a fantastic day, even if I was just net-man.