Thursday, 25 February 2010

The day I learn't about the red pen

I made my way to the Canal this morning, I intended to cover a lot of water so once again I travelled light. I was around an hour into my session when I was joined by the ever enthusiastic Allan.

We moved swims every half hour or so, but with little reward, the fishing was very slow today. I did eventually catch, another Jack to add to my tally. Alas Allan was deprived of any excitement or rod bending action and at one point he did say to me "Don't tell me that I'm going to have to use the red pen Matt" he went on to explain that he keeps a little diary of his fishing exploits at home and if he doesn't catch he marks the word BLANKED in red ink. I found this rather amusing and I will be asking about the ink levels in that pen from now on.

Noticeably the temperature was a little warmer today and the water was alive with fish crashing and slapping on the surface, a sight that I haven't been treated to since last Autumn. Towards the end of the day I spotted that the bankside was playing host to a large amount of midges, surely a sign that spring on it's way.

Another Jack/Blank saver

Monday, 22 February 2010

My turn to land a big girl

Another cold night put a good layer of frost and ice on the ground, I drove down to the Sluice to check to see if it was frozen over, it was. So I headed to a different water and I was happy to see that the stretch I wanted to fish was clear of ice.

Once again I travelled light and moved swims every half hour or so. I had my first take within 30 minutes of setting up but this ended in a dropped run, soon after whilst I reeling my line in with the intention of another move I felt a Pike slam into my bait - it missed! I recast to the spot and it hit it again, I saw the fish in question and I think it saw me as it let go of the bait and swam for freedom.

I moved to a different area and I was into a Pike within 20 seconds of casting in, I must have dropped the bait on it's nose, the result was a cracking Jack Pike of 6lb's or so. Around 20 minutes later I was in again and another Jack though a little bigger put up a bit of a fight. There is in my opinion no greater a sight than watching your pike float bob and start to drift away, it's at that moment that you wonder what lies beneath and what fight awaits you.

Several swims later remained Pikeless, I was contemplating another move when I caught sight of my far float twitching, and to think that I was about to move it, this Pike wasn't messing about, it had my bait and it wanted to keep it, the float was under and out of sight, I tightened up onto the take and felt a good solid Pike on the end, I knew instantly that I was into a good fish perhaps one of the bigger fish off this venue? She stayed deep and put up a great fight, I was delighted to see her slip into the net, and then it hit me. I'd caught the same fish that Allan had caught only four days earlier, it would appear that I was indeed destined to catch this fish, it's a pity though - as to think of another double in this area would have been brilliant.

The Reuben Heatons confirmed that she tipped the scales at 11lb 8oz interestingly that's a difference of 4oz from Thursday, could be either a discrepancy in the weighing or that she'd had a little snack before Allan caught her the other day? I wasn't for arguing over 4 oz. I took a couple of pictures and watched her glide back into the water, presumably off to sulk and curse her rotten luck at once again ending up on the bank side. There's one thing for sure she left behind a happy little Piker

Giving Kerwin a run for his money with the daft hat

Another Jack but the same daft hatCatch of the day

Sunday, 21 February 2010

A spot of Jack Bashing

A couple of jobs that needed to be done for her in doors kept me from an early start from fishing this morning. Although secretly I knew that if I didn't do the job today I'd have to do it tomorrow (And there maybe fishing to be done) so given that the water would probably be frozen over this morning I figured that if perhaps if I waited until early afternoon it may of thawed a little - it had, but it decided to snow just as I was making my merry down the bank.

I've decided to do away with a chair on these cold days, there's no real need for one if you're going to be leapfrogging every twenty minutes or so, it's less to carry and I seem to feel the cold a lot more if I'm sat down.

It was around an hour before I was into my first fish, it had just started to snow pretty hard and I was wondering if I was mental stood in the snow with not so much as a brolly to shelter from, when I caught sight of one of my floats bob, by the time I'd bent down to pick my net up the float was off and away and at some pace, good job I had the bait runner on as I'm sure my rod would have gone in the drink otherwise. The culprit of this violent take was a Pike punching above it's weight of only 6lb or so.

The next fish came just as JP arrived, I'd spoken to him earlier about my catch and within an hour or so he was on the bank chasing the dream. One whiff of a fish and the snaggler won't be too far away. This fish was only around 2lb's - still I wasn't complaining as catching any fish at all in these conditions would do me just fine. Some of the area I was fishing was still iced over, and at times I was casting through a thin membrane of ice to reach the spots I wanted to fish.

I had two more takes, the first one shook the hooks and the second one right at the end of the session was another Jack of 2lb's or so, none of the fish were really worth photographing but I took the pictures for the hell of it, gives me something to look at I suppose.

Pike in the snow

Jack One
Jack Two

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Two quick catches

I had intentions on fishing the canal today, but over night temperatures of around minus 3 put pay to that idea. Despite the big freeze I drove around to several spots of the canal but eventually settled on fishing a stretch of the drain. I met up with JP and we decided to leapfrog rather than stay put, if anything at least we'd keep warm by moving about.

Within 10 minutes of JP was into a fish, a Jack Pike had fallen for the old Mackerel trick. Within 5 minutes I was also into a fish and of a similar size, this catch was not without a small drama though as JP had to do a swift net scooping maneuver as the fish shook the hooks. Well done mate! We moved swims several times but the next and last fish came to JP another Jack pike of around 5lb's

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Allan's Cracker!

I made my way to a local stretch of water this morning. I was about minding my own business when I caught sight of another Piker heading my way "Who's this now?!" I thought. There's miles of water for you to fish - why are you heading towards me? As the figure got closer I realised that in fact it was Allan, he had a day off work and made a surprise visit. I'll let him off I suppose :) He went about setting up and joined me for a day on the bank. Allan then did the unthinkable...

He went and caught (Poached) a decent fish from right under my nose. I could tell by the bend in his rod and the fact that the fish was demanding more line that he was in to a good lump. She was duly netted and soon placed in the weigh sling ,the needled revealed that she was 11lb 12oz. OK not the biggest of Pike I grant you, but from the water this was caught on this is a pretty special fish. Allan was made up, as despite a few sessions Piking of late he was not to be rewarded with any captures.

As for me, despite my best efforts, which included leapfrogging and trying several swims - I only had one take, and during a in a tug of war with my bait, I ended up on the losing side. Nevermind! - You can't win them all, and if I'm honest Al really deserved that fish.

To quote Allan "I don't catch many fish Matt but when I do catch - they're always the big ones"

Al's Double - 11lb 12 oz

Monday, 8 February 2010

A new PB from the canal

I had to take my van for an MOT today, whilst it's being sorted out, I thought it sounded like a good excuse to go fishing, as it's not too far from the Leeds Liverpool canal, I decided to have a session on there.

I fished two Pike rods on deadbaits and I fished on my float rod for any passing bits. (I needn't have bothered as once again catching any such fish became an impossible task) JP made an appearence and set about giving me a masterclass in winter pole fishing, needless to say he blanked :)

Soon enough I caught site of one of my Pike floats, it was heading towards me - a take - I was in! I wound down to the fish and was surprised to feel a bit of a lump on the end and by canal standards I was rather pleased to see the scales tip at 9lb, and a new canal pb too boot, not quite the double I've been after, but you'll hear no grumbling from me with this catch.

We were joined by Allan in the afternoon, who tried his luck for Perch by fishing on the tip, once again the fishing was hard and he didn't get so much as a bite.

I stayed until sunset but the Pike I'd caught earlier in the day was to be my only fish

9lb Canal PB

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Difficult conditions - JP saves the day!

Sunrise on the Sluice

The first drain Pike of the year

The drains are still not fishing very well. Several attempts by myself lately have yet to produce any fish. I'm blaming the current run of bad luck down to coloured water. It's still a very yucky brown - and not too far off the colour of chocolate. Nevertheless I still decided to give them a go today. I chose to leapfrog rather than stay static, the idea was to drop on to fish.

It didn't happen and a certain blank was on the cards but thankfully after meeting up with JP he came up with an inspirational idea which in turn resulted in my first drain fish of the year.

No records were to be broken with this one though as it was only around the 5lb mark. Who cares! As quite frankly it was good just to have a fish on the bank. Looking back on last years fishing at this time of year I was about to enter into a red letter period, lets hope the same happens again over the next few weeks....