No fishing all Winter, this simply won’t do. With the coarse season about to end I simply had to get some in and Saturday was the day. Grayling or pike? Pike! A good hour was spent on Friday night assembling all my deadbaiting gear which was scattered to the four corners during one of my attempts at tidying shit up. I could only have a couple of bottles of ale as well seeing as it was an early start and I was driving.
Saturday morning we swung by Angling and Country Sports in Otley to get some last minute fresh baits as ours consisted of various odds and sods that had been through more freeze/thaw cycles than some ice-age analogy I can’t quite pull together so just make up your own. What a great little shop, support it and go buy some tackle from there – I found a great pencil float for my pike rigs! We also picked up some hand sanitiser from Asda – rough arse pikers we are not. Fishing for pike with baits requires a terrifying amount of shit. None of this mincing around like a fairy with your little wand, wicker creel and a bottle of Fentimans ginger ale. Winter piking involves big folding chairs, unhooking mats, suspicious hats, tupperware boxes of terminal tackle, carrier bags full of various flavours of dead fish, voluminous layers of insulated clothing and an ever-present terrible smell. From leaving the car to first bait in the water probably took about an hour of humping gear and tackling up but once you are all done, sat in your chair with a brew in your hand watching your float it’s great
We had 2 rods out each, baits strung out in a row. My float out on the extreme right, presenting my bait in the entrance to a bay was the first to go. It lifted up and lay flat on the surface as a pike grabbed the bait. I wound down and struck, fish on…feels good taking line off the clutch…fish off. Ugh. Oh well, he got a mackerel and I got my string pulled.
Maybe half an hour later Stu got a run but there was nothing there when he struck. However not long after another run resulted in a nice little jack. It doesn’t really matter how big the pike is, just hearing the alarm go and seeing a float zoom off, followed by connecting with the fish is what it’s all about. Luckily it was very lightly hooked and could be returned quickly with minimal fuss. Excellent, we haven’t blanked.
After an hour or 2, us not blanking wasn’t quite enough, I really wanted a fish too! I’d dropped a bait further out to no avail so went to bring it in after 20 minutes and can only assume a pike had been sat staring at it, trying to decide if it should attack. As soon as I started the retrieve it felt like I hit a dense patch of weed but eventually the weed started moving!
There was no scrap to speak of but I was very happy to get him to the bank.
Stu must have had another 2 or 3 runs but nothing came of them Frustratingly I had no more action right up until the last retrieve of the day when I was just about to lift my mackerel out of the water and an angry pike grabbed it before realising something was amiss! As a side note, is it just me who has Archie from the Fast Show in his head when detailing who caught what whilst writing up a fishing blog ? “16 and half pound of chub I had, Stan blanked” etc….
Pike to the bank, a kingfisher spotted, new £20 Aldi neoprene boots successfully tested, several hours of fresh air, some actual fishing content on my fishing blog – good result all round.