Monday, 28 November 2011
28/11/11 Motor Pikin'
Talking of things meteorological, It's far too windy to even consider taking the boat out, and the timing and size of the tide this morning were far from ideal for an Arun pike session. I chose instead to get some use out of my Police ticket(much appreciated Dave), and try the semi -tidal stretch of the Adur.
Michael Kernan has inspired me with fantastic news of a lifetime best forty two inch river pike taken only last week, and in typical M.K fashion..........on an artificial. Winter 'proper', has still not really arrived so, reasoning that it was warm enough for the pike to 'chase something' I'd give lures a go for a change. I also didn't have the time, energy, and motivation to lug pike bait gear and all it's associated paraphernalia to the river bank, so decided instead to strap my battered, and recently repaired 'E.T sneaker ' four-piece spinning rod to my motor bike, and indulge in both my 'passions' in one hit.
Whilst Muck boots are certainly very capable items of equipment for the modern day winter piker being the warmest, and most comfortable 'walking' wellie I've yet to encounter, they are not entirely suitable for negotiating a six speed foot change, however I managed arrive at Nick's farm in double quick time without missing too many cogs. On the coast the weather was still quite mild(Andy's still catching mullet!), but crossing the downs brought a sharp drop in air temperature with four degrees showing on the bike's thermometer.
The river was clear, but still relatively choked with weed and certainly no place for a treble hook, so I chose to go with a trusty collection of Manns six inchers (probably the finest 'shad' known to mankind) and a couple of 1oz spinnerbaits. Both lures have one single hook, are virtually 'weed less', and can be worked at a snail's pace if needs be. In reality they were the only lures I'd brought with me.
I worked the river from the penstock at Nick's, down to the tidal barrier alternating the lures at every stop, and covering most of the water although the stretch above the bridge was , in places, totally blocked by weed and considerably shallower than I remember. The structure of the upper penstock has changed in recent years and this may have affected the geography of the stretch. I've caught some very big early autumn pike from here in the past but in a much clearer river, and suspected that there may have been pike lurking in the vegetation. If they were, they didn't take any notice of my offerings.
Below the bridge the river opened out a bit, and I started to get some interest in the lemon shad from a couple of jacks whose eyes were bigger than their tummy, until eventually a good hit resulted in a positive hook up , and this nice looking pike, only ounces short of a 'double' ensured that the landing net went home with a 'fishy ' smell. Interestingly, there were already leaches present on her body which, according to pike fishing lore, does indicate some possible inactivity, although I'm not entirely convinced by this.
The barrier held back the tide just long enough for my liking and, once breached, the water quickly clouded up bringing with it huge rafts of debris but, by then I'd had enough anyway and called it a day.
It was pleasant to spend a couple of hours fishing with lures but I don't think it could ever completely displace bait fishing methods for me where river pike are concerned. I actually quite enjoy contemplating a couple of ' marker buoys' on a cold winter's day, whilst consuming endless mugs of steaming tea and Dave's legendary sausage butties, and there's no doubting that 'the take' on a pike float is very entertaining fishing indeed. However, lures are certainly far more convenient, especially when fishing time is limited, and there's no doubting their effectiveness on our 'tidals' in favourable conditions, as Michael had indeed proved. As the winter progresses and the conditions become more difficult, the pike in turn become increasingly difficult to 'move' and it's then that I'm more confident with bait on the hooks, presented statically, albeit with a 'roving' approach.
Whatever the case, to enjoy any level of success with river pike, it's useful to have both approaches in the armoury, as each have their day.
The ride home took me past a very attractive tributary which enters the river just upstream of where I was fishing today and , Is available on the same ticket. I'd intended to stop and take a look anyway, and was quite impressed by what I saw.Much larger than expected it's a 'must do' for the future especially as Jan has some rather impressive 'night crawlers' available on her vegetable patch, and the little stream looks 'perchy' in a 'chubby' sort of way.