It looks like another lockdown is coming. I quite liked the first one; for a start it took place in the closed season, the weather was glorious - days were spent lounging about in the sunshine, the bbq fired up and Beer O'Clock getting slightly earlier each day.
The next lockdown will be dark and wet, Christmas plans ruined - and worst of all it's Pike Time - I don't get out piking enough as it is! So I've braved the non-essential train journey twice to do a bit of lure chucking on the pike ponds - hoping to get a few more on the bank.
The first was a 2 hour session - a blank - not even a perch follow - same ponds that produced 65 fish on the opening day! I did watch a micro-pike beach itself trying to escape from a larger pike. Micro-pike rescued, I had a plan for the next trip...
The Savage Gear 3D Pike - if they're hunting micro-pike this will fool them! It didn't! Another 4 hours thrashing the water to a foam with this and a variety of other lures - again, not even a follow - it was a bite a chuck a couple of weeks ago - where do these fish go?
I'd spotted a couple of little barbel in shallow water and was trying to tempt them up to the surface with some free samples of floating crust - when out of nowhere a big barbel appeared and stared moping them up. I've really fancied catching a double off the surface.
First trot through she sucked in the crust - I struck and ripped the bread and hook out of her mouth - really thought I'd messed up my chance. But there's no suspense on this blog - I put the photo at the top! Second trot down she nailed it again - and I connected.
Cracking fight as she made her way from the shallows to deeper water - a 10lb 9oz barbel off the surface - biggest of the season so far and my 20th double from the river - absolutely delighted! Second of a 10 barbel haul - all for 65p (the price of a Tesco's loaf of bread).
I call it a gudgeon hunt but it's a wander about with the stick 'n' pin, maggots or bread for bait - so normally it's a mixed bag of fish and a great way to spend an afternoon. But it did include 8 gudgeon...
I had a strict last cast time - it was 18:00 - then I really did have to leave. And having thrashed the ponds to a foam, covered lots of water and changed lure regularly - I'd only banked a small perch - looked like my second trip out searching for pike was going to be a blank.
In the dying minutes I spotted a shoal of small roach on the surface - 17:57 - quickly snapped on a sushi lure - 17:59 - finally had the take I was after - 4 hours of hard work but I got my prize last cast. I quickly popped her on the scales - a 6lb 12oz pike to better next time...
All it's done so far in October is rain - all the rivers need it though. The Small River has been up and down like a bride's nighty! Looked like a fairly dry afternoon (rain suit packed just in case), so a little wander and 4 barbel, a chub and an eel found the net - lovely!
Exciting! Let's start with the results; 9 pike and 56 perch - not bad for 5 hours on the pike ponds with a light lure set up. Weather was glorious and Storm Curl Tails accounted for all 65 fish. Sixty five!
Here's the rub though; 8 of the 9 pike were this years - beautiful mini predators - and pike are pike and I love them all. Looks like they had a successful breeding season this year - good news for the future.
Bad news though - a lot of the bigger females didn't survive long after spawning. It's part of nature and some years you loose a lot of pike - but I did have a follow from a double - I'll be back for her.
The perch were mad for the Curl Tails - they managed to destroy 3 of them - and they don't make them any more. Maxing out about a pound I'm hoping I'll find some bigger ones - next time!