October the first, pike time - me and James were on it for a two day trip. First up was the Avon Royalty (and a late start as I set my alarm but left my phone in another room). Just after dawn we were creeping about with lures - and in the clear water we soon found pike, they gave the lures a close inspection before deciding no. I had over a dozen follows, sometimes over and again but they didn't strike.
Moving further upstream I did land a rather beaten-up pike about 8½lb on a ledgered sprat (of all things) - mission accomplished! I followed by a perch about 1¼lb on a livebait before tempting a mid double into the swim with a lure and then convinced her to take a sprat - really looked like she was mine - James called me a jammy bugger as he got the net into position - before the hook pulled - not such a jammy bugger after all!
Throughout the unseasonal midday sun nothing really wanted to play, James got into the chub - I watched the large shoals of mullet. It wasn't until dusk they switched back on - I was only the net-man. James landed three small pike before hitting a low double - how that managed to snag itself right in the side we are both still wondering - but it did. We had both had a chance of a double but they eluded us.
After an uncomfortable night sleeping in the van - we hit The Test, we were early - seriously - between my snoring, James' farting, the upright sleeping positions and the bright street lights - I'm never complaining about a B&B again - not to mention it was cold, really cold!
We watch the sunrise on a day full of new hope, and I had a couple of takes on the lure before the sun got too high. In the bright conditions the pike didn't want to play at all. James switched to chasing the grayling, which was a good call, I'll leave it to his blog - but I 'borrowed' his rod for a couple of trot throughs resulting in a grayling and a 1½lb brown trout before continuing my search for a pike.
We had hoped they would switch on just before dusk but one spectacular take on a surface plug as the light failed was the only sign there were pike in there. I did land a surprise rainbow on a ledgered sprat - at 4lb 0oz a new PB, but we couldn't help thinking the conditions were completely against us.
In the old days, when pike fishing was governed by common sense instead of dates, the basic rule was you don't fish for pike before the first frost. But with the threat of floods I'll wait for a grey sky and head back out...