Today,finally had a chance to get on the river although with the amount of snow we've had,the water temp was much colder than i've fished before,and the melt was already beginning to colour the water.It was going to be hard.Just getting to the river bank was an 'epic ' in itself.The recent floods had left the surrounding fields a knee deep muddy quagmire hidden by a blanket of snow.I nearly came a cropper a couple of times and the dog wasn't impressed at all-he being a foot tall with his boots on!
Managed to get four tiny three inch livebaits and thinking i'd better hedge my bets, I unusually set up three rods-float rigs with paternostered sardine,legered whole mackerel and a double mini livebait,lip hooked on each treble.Picked a stretch with a deep trough which,from past experience, i felt must contain at least one decent pike that would feed,and set about leap frogging the rods every twenty minutes or so with about ten yards between each bait.By 4p.m i'd covered about three hundred yards,had not had a sniff,but was in a favourite spot -slightly deeper still and a good producer of big pike for me in the past-Two real whoppers and a string of good doubles but ........plenty of blanks as well-would today be yet another to add to the list?
The tide had turned and was almost completing it's flood,and the light was fading fast.If i was going to get a take in these conditions ,it was going to be on the lives,and this indeed proved to be the case.
The float instantly disappeared,and the clicker on the baitrunner sang-a typical thrilling, positive livebait take so unlike a deadbait pick up.Within two seconds ,I was off my seat, tightened up and connected.Good strong deep fight,far better than a 'puddle pike' and neatly hooked in the corner of the mouth.Beautifully conditioned lean 17-05 with an 'electric blue flank so typical of this river's fish and ,as far as I know,not seen elsewhere locally. Nice fish and the biggest of the season so far.This river doesn't give up its pike easily, but they're usually a good size at this time of year-small pike being conspicuous by their absence.
Tried out my new keep tube on this one for the first time whilst i set up the camera.Good idea and superb for the welfare of the pike,allowing it to calm down and recover, but it does mean that they're a bit lively when you get them out of the water again,hence the poor quality of the pic- i just couldn't hold on to her!Would've set up another shot but didn't want to risk freezing her fins-yes that is ice on my hat!
Managed to get her back completely unharmed,as always,and she kicked her tail and drenched my face with icy water just for good measure.One very wet,muddy but happy river piker!