So, once again (it seems to arrive earlier as the years go by) the coarse fishing season ends and with it, the finish of my river piking adventures for another year. I hope to be exploring future pike fishing opportunities in a few weeks but, more of that in later blog entries.
Dave and me finished the season rather quietly with a final trip on the river in a huge tide- in fact the biggest of the year so far.
This season has shown us that these extreme tidal conditions are just not conducive to successful pike fishing and, with some additional rain water in the river, unsurprisingly, we drew a blank. Frustratingly, just a couple of days into the closed season the river had returned to perfect order again.
But, I have no cause for complaint as what a season its been!
I've caught over fifty pike with nearly half of those fish of double figure weights or above, and three 'twenties'. Statistics which, although unremarkable for keen pike anglers who fish 'going waters' are, by my very average standards , quite exceptional.
Much of this success must be attributed to the boat and the advantages , particularly regarding access, that it gives on the river.
Most of the locations fished this season are relatively inaccessible from dry land and therefore contain pike that rarely, if ever see an angler's bait. Although the river most definitely has a low population density of pike, being afloat has made them less difficult (note I don't say 'easy') to locate- a key factor in successful piking.
Simply being able to move swims quickly has proved very useful and its not been unusual on some days to cover known locations over several miles of river although often, this has not been necessary. Many of this year's pike have been found in relatively large concentrations -some swims producing two or three big fish. It's hard to imagine pike lying up next to each other in small areas of river but they appear to do so, and quite regularly.
Its also been quite obvious that mild, low light level weather conditions have produced better results. Those 'classic' cold, frosty bright winter's days so often mentioned in piking literature, and revered by many regular pikers don't seem to work on our river. Many a time pike anglers have mentioned to me in the early part of the season that they don't think it's cold enough yet.
Personally, throughout the winter, it can stay as warm as it likes. In fact I would go as far as to say that much of established piking 'lore' is , In my humble opinion, pure rubbish.
The weather has actually been quite kind to us this winter and far fewer fishing days have been lost due to floods and coloured , high water conditions than in previous years.
One method that has undoubtedly proved its worth this season is the use of a live fish as bait-when they can be caught ,which is not always easy.
Although fishing with dead baits is far more convenient and an excellent method on it's day, statistically live baits have outscored 'deads' for me this time around and, caught some big pike too, despite the fact that I've actually fished with dead baits far more often.
Its just a pity that, in this country we have such draconian rules surrounding their use-in most other 'piking ' countries fish are treated exactly the same as any other 'live' bait.
The river boat will now be given a well earned rest for a few months until mid June when the coarse fishing season starts again but , in the meantime we've plans afoot. We're hoping to do some 'carbelling' in the summer and some closed season preparations will no doubt be undertaken involving selecting , and baiting swims but more of this later.
Speaking of carp fishing, I recently joined Dave for a short session on a small, secluded ,private lake which holds some rather attractive , if not huge, specimens and we managed to winkle a few out. Dave who, it must be said, is a far more accomplished general coarse angler than myself far out fished me , but I did eventually manage to tempt one with my grain of sweet corn-a fully scaled and very streamlined 'common' of a few pounds.