I shot down the river - firstly to check it was still there and secondly to see if the fish had missed me! And my timing couldn’t have been better; the barbel were on the feed - fourteen landed to 10lb 11oz. Plus a bonus chub of 4lb 14oz. Had the fish missed me? Hell no!!
You can count the people who deliberately target perch on the local river on one hand, probably on one finger - but I knew there were pound plus perch in there - I’d seen them - or was I going mad?
I was off to a good start - landing two small perch on maggots while trying to catch minnows for livebait. With 4 minnows sat in the net I swapped to a chubber float and a bigger hook.
Trotting down then gently winding back, just as the light faded my float hammered under - good fight and I was delighted when a spikey fin broke the surface - 1lb 7oz - mission accomplished!
Releasing the fish I accidentally freed my livebaits - but the one on the hook still looked good - so out of light I had one more trot down and a 1lb ½oz perch to finish on. The quest for a two starts here!
Ping. I’d landed four barbel to about 4½lb and now I was watching something special. A good double, and as she moved to my side of the weed bed I trundled a cube of luncheon meat down to her - she nailed it straight away - fish on - for about 30-40 seconds before the hook pinged out - I watched a potential PB dart back into the weeds...
Gutted. I started making my way home - but there was still a couple of spots I wanted to try on route. And in one my fortunes changed. An unsighted barbel hit my bait - hell of a fight in the fast water, including getting snagged - but by then I’d seen her and waded out to free the line - wet shoes and jeans but totally worth it!
Meatball. A very distinctive fish (Stu named her Meatball) and she’s been out a few times over the years. For a while it looked like she’d peaked in weight getting caught between 9lb & 10lb, but last year James caught her at 11lb 2oz - and I’m glad the growth spurt is continuing - weighing as she did 12lb 1oz - brilliant!
I couldn’t wait for a gap in the weather so I broke out the rain-suit and went anyway - to the ponds! I lost a pike about 5lb second cast, and I don’t know how many hundreds of casts later I saw a big pike swirl in the edge - I didn’t need a second invitation - she didn’t need a second invitation to hit the lure...
Even though I hooked her a couple of foot from the bank she shot out to the middle of the pond and plodded about - then she made a right fight of it and really didn’t want to go in the net. Cracking pike, 18lb 3oz, with plenty of room to fill out. Delighted - a stillwater PB as well as a lure caught PB pike - a brilliant start to the campaign.
And I think I know what’s happened to all the jack-pike in the pond!
There is a lot to look forward to in October; the film Joker finally hits the cinema, El Camino is getting aired on Netflix and Rick & Morty is back after what seems like an eternity. Anything else? Oh yeah, pike!
To the pike ponds - and I’d like to say between storms - but I got soaked! But it was worth it; my season opener was a beautiful dark double at 12lb 6oz followed by a jack on the next cast.
Both fell to a Storm Curl Tail - my go to lure in these conditions. I think I could have had more but the storm thickened - then thunder and lightning - and even I draw the line at fishing in lightning..!