Wednesday, 27 January 2016

21/1/16 Super Piking

Following on from the successful river pike trip of two days ago, I spent yesterday at sea on board Brian's Orkney Fastliner in search of cod.
The skipper hadn't been able use his boat for a while so there were some minor mechanical issues that needed sorting before we could set off, but eventually we arrived at our chosen location. Unfortunately, the target specie didn't materialise ,despite us both fishing a suitably big bait, complimented by a live bait rig on a second rod each. A procession of pouting, whiting with the odd dogfish thrown in for good measure did show along with a welcome thornback ray but in general, the fishing was difficult.
Of course, this didn't matter in the slightest as a day out with Brian on his boat is always entertainingand when we catch a few fish, which we normally do, its something of a bonus.
Today Dave and me returned to the river, which we found to be in excellent shape and ,assisted by a small tide , we followed the flood upstream.
First stop was at a swim which , according to Brian, who has fished the river pretty much since the day he was born, is known as 'The Silent Pool'. With little wind to speak of, we anchored the boat 'mid river' and fished two baits each towards opposing banks on float paternoster rigs.
I've recently purchased a new pike 'stick' in the shape of a 10ft, 3.5lb test curve 'Loch Tamer' custom built by Dave Lumb. This formidable weapon is more than capable of lobbing out a large whole mackerel bait complete with 3oz lead whilst my 11ft 2.5lb P-2 rods, also from Dave, remain in use for standard piking duties.
It didn't take long for the first run of the day to materialise to my new rod in the shape of this lean, one eyed pike of 12lb 8oz which was in otherwise, excellent shape.

The 'pool' produced no more action, so a move downstream to a reed lined bay was undertaken. This time it was the sardine that got 'snaffled' by another lean pike weighing in at 16lb 4oz. Not a bad start at all!!
Following another short jaunt, we arrived close to an area that's been very productive of late and, as Dave had first choice of swim, decided to place his mackerel bait tight to the bank in a spot of slack water .
Sure enough pike were present, and it didn't take long before the float slid across the surface and glide away to the depths resulting in Dave being connected to an above average fish.
When the scales swept round to 22lb 3oz, I'm not sure which one of us was more pleased. A splendid fish indeed and very satisfying to even up the share of the action.
If we'd stopped fishing at this point, it would have been considered an excellent day's river piking but there was more to follow.
Dave picked up the next fish- an eight pounder just yards down stream from the 'twenty's' lair before a flurry of action came to my baits.
Firstly, another lean fish of 16lbs on the nose took my sardine......................................

..............................................shortly followed by this beauty of 21lb 4oz again, to a sardine.......... 
.......................and finally, this 14lb 1oz fish munched on my whole mackerel. 
 Quite an amazing run of fish complimented by some excellent photography on Dave's part.
The 'twenty' although caught in fairly close proximity to both my previous fish of a similar weight, is a different pike which is terrific news. Quite why so many good pike are congregating in this area is , of course, something of a mystery, but its quite possible that they are assembling prior to spawning which, because of the relatively high temperatures we've experienced this season, may be taking place a little earlier than usual.
One thing is for sure, this little 'hot spot' won't last. We've discovered gatherings similar to this in the past on the river and they are usually short lived. River pike are a 'wandering' breed.

 The superb 'sladle' in action.

Friday, 22 January 2016

19/1/16 Return To The River

We've experienced a prolonged spell of wet weather with some very heavy rainfall for several weeks now ,rendering the river virtually unfishable for pike, and forcing me to visit the club lakes in search of perch.
Unfortunately, this has proved almost completely unproductive as , after three sessions, all I've managed to catch is one small roach-less than ideal.
Regular visits to check, and pump out, the river boat have meant that I've been able to keep a close watch on the state of the river but Its also been very useful to monitor the E.A water level website and compare results.
On some occasions the tide has had very little effect on the river level-it's stayed high constantly, and continued to flow in one direction.....seawards.
Last week-end things were improving and, crossing the upper river to visit the club lake, levels looked almost back to normal but I decided to leave it a couple more days to fine down before venturing out in the boat again after pike.
The tides were small so it was convenient to head upstream to fish but first, with a heavy overnight frost and sub zero temperatures, I had to thaw out the boat boiling a kettle.
Once underway it was 'plain sailing' but still pretty damned cold, but the water looked to be in fairly reasonable shape with decent enough clarity.
My first and second 'stops' produced nothing whatsoever and I was beginning to wonder if the low temperatures had put the pike 'down' but, by late morning I'd reached my third swim of choice and sure enough, pike were present.
I had three takes resulting in fish of 14lb 10oz and 11lb 3oz being boated, and another definite double slipping the hooks before , as the light began to fade, the air temperature dropped considerably and I decided to head for home-probably a good move as by the time I arrived at the mooring, the 'sladle' and landing net were almost frozen solid!
Good to be back
 14lb 10oz

 11lb 3oz

6/1/16 Brian's Record Cod

This winter has been all about snatching brief opportunities in the weather to get afloat and today was no different.
Brian joined for another trip out to the half way mark and almost from the 'off' , we were into some very good sport with mid range congers. Brian's big cuttle baits conclusively out fished my lesser morsels although we also both employed live bait rigs and the  whiting/pouting bait captures also resulted in some good eels.
By the end of the session we'd amassed a bag of fourteen 'snakes'  , a small codling,and a thornback but highlight of the day came in the shape of a new boat record cod of 19lb 10oz (weighed back at the pontoon so it was likely a 'twenty' at capture) for my crew mate-a fish that is also a new P.B. Nice.