Tuesday, 23 March 2010

A trip to Esthwaite - doomed from the start

As the title suggests, this blog posting isn't going to have a happy ending with the capture of some massive Pike. Allow me to explain.......

I will have to take you back to November 2009 to tell this story from the beginning...Justify Full
Myself and JP were booked on to Esthwaite Fishery at the end of last November, and the prospect of either of us landing one of the larger residents on the water had us chomping at the bit to get on there.

Alas November 2009 will be remembered as the wettest November since 1914, bringing with it wide spread flooding to the area of Cumbria... Mission aborted!

We were disappointed, but in the grand scheme of things it didn't really matter, we had it all to look forward to all over again in January.

January 2010 is on record as the coldest January in the UK since 1987 and the eighth coldest since 1914. The coldest temperature that I recorded was minus 6, although some parts of the UK recorded a staggering minus 17. Esthwaite was frozen solid... Mission aborted!

Once again we were a little disappointed but, we still had the trip to look forward to, and we decided to wait until the spring, let things warm up a little. We'll have another go in March.

March 2010 was the coldest March on record since 1987. Once again Esthwaite was frozen solid. I was beginning to hate this trip, and when we finally got chance to go in the middle of March, I have to admit that mine and JP's enthusiasm had faded a little, for now it wasn't the weather that was our enemy, we were faced with the prospect of fishing this water right in the middle of the Pike spawning. A daunting prospect for any Piker.

Due to accommodation that we'd booked it just wasn't possible to cancel for a fourth time, so finally on the 21st of March we loaded the car and decided to chance our arm on the lake.

We arrived at around 5am and we were soon on the boat looking for prospective swims to fish. We'd been on the water around an hour when we the heavens opened and we got the soaking of a lifetime. I have coined myself a new phrase to describe just how wet we were, and that is 'Washing Machine Wet'

We fished two dead bait rods each and we also cast around with lures and spinner baits. Alas we didn't get so much as a take, in fact we were not alone as everyone else on the lake also struggled, we heard that a 22lb fish had come off from somewhere, but everyone we spoke to had blanked.

We gave it a good old go though, and we finally threw the towel in at dusk. We had planned to spend three days on the lake, but we were resigned to the fact that with the Pike being pre occupied with spawning, we were probably in for a hiding to nothing.

I turned the fishing trip into a family holiday instead and had a brilliant time in the lakes with the Mrs and the dog. Sometimes even I have to admit that there is more to life than fishing.

JP 'Washing Machine Wet'
Asleep on the job!
A view from the boat
Across the lake..

Thursday, 11 March 2010

I don't catch many Matt - but when I do catch

My search for the Perch continued today, the day started out with me fishing on the pole for Roach. The bites were constant and once again I ended up with a good net full, a strong breeze that formed in the afternoon prompted me to pack the pole away and concentrate on the Perch.

I'd spoken to Allan in the morning and suggested to him that if he came down with the intentions of fishing late in the afternoon to bring just a Barbel rod and a reel rather than be fully laden with all his gear, and that I would sort the rest of his terminal tackle out for him. He took advantage of this offer and duly arrived late afternoon. "Don't worry mate" I told him "You'll catch that Pike tonight"

Since Allan landed his double a few weeks back he's had to use the 'red pen' after every single outing, sometimes he just doesn't have the luck. However Allan has a saying and it goes a little like this.... "I don't catch many Matt, but when I do catch they're big fish" There was never a true word spoken, as minutes earlier I'd just landed my third Pike of the day when I heard Allan say "I've got one!" Finally he'd caught sight of his float bobbing and indeed he was in! What happened next we will probably talk about for years to come...

I watched as he struck into the take, and I saw a nice bend in his rod, he was seemingly into a good fish, then as it flashed past us in the water desperately trying to outwit it's captor, I caught sight of an orange fin and white under belly...

He'd only gone and caught, and right from under my feet the Perch that I'd been targeting over the last two sessions. As it glided into the net Allan's cries of "Matt it's massive, it's a whopper" were far from comforting.

What a specimen this fish was, tipping the scales at 2lb 4oz. As I've said before is there a greater sight than that of a big Perch? I think not! As I had put all the work into catching it, the guilty look on Al's face said it all. I dare say that he almost felt sorry for me. Well I exclaimed "That's fishing for you mate and there's plenty more from where that came from" That's what makes fishing so unpredictable and interesting in the first place no matter how much time and effort you put in, there's nothing to stop someone else coming along and catching the fish of a lifetime. That was a cracking fish mate well done!

This week has been a good weeks fishing for me, I've landed a lot of Jack Pike, and I've fished well on the pole, but above all I've learnt a lot over the last few days, from perfecting my pole rigs, to coming up with a definitive rig to catch the finicky Perch.

It's worth mentioning that the weather was once again very mild today, and that the sun was for the most part clear of any cloud cover. Which in turn was a kiss of death for much in the way of predator action today, as dusk approached and the sun finally hid behind the clouds the takes were almost instant.

The 2lb 4oz Perch

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

In search of the Perch

Now that the days have become a little milder I have decided to turn my attentions away from Pike and target Perch instead. Is there any greater sight than a big Perch?

I have scaled down from my Piking rods and set up using my Greys Barbel rods, the test curve on these rods is only 1.5lb, and I have also stepped down my main line to 6lb, perfect then for the task in mind.

I also fished on the pole for bits today and bagged around 30 or so Roach for my troubles. My Perch rods were very busy and I was often out of my seat after catching sight of my float shooting under. I landed six fish in total, alas all the fish that I caught were Pike, the biggest being around 5lb's. There's one thing for sure you get a great fight from old Esox on these light rods, so much so that from now on when fishing this venue I'll be leaving my Pike rods at home. You may win today my stripey friend, but there is always tomorrow!

One of the Jacks

Thursday, 4 March 2010

24 Hours later..........

I arranged to have a days Piking with Paddy. We set off to the Leeds Liverpool canal but upon our arrival I Immediately spotted that there was a Problem... The covering of Ice that had formed over night I could deal with, as there was water free from ice. But in the sky there was a strange glowing sphere, I'm reliably informed that it's called a sun, those of you that aren't too sure what I'm on about can read the wikipedia entry here

The glare of the sun rendered fishing on the Pole useless, I had no baseball cap and the floats that I had were just not up to the job. A decision to pack up and head to another venue was made within the hour.

With the sun on my back I settled into my fishing, the bites on the Pole were a lot slower than the day before. I did manage to catch around 10 fish or so, the best of the bunch being a Rudd.

My Pike rod snared me four Jack Pike to 4lb's , I've had my fair share of these over the last 2 days, perhaps next week I'll concentrate on landing a couple of bigger fish. The the catch of the day fell to Paddy, who landed a cracking Pike of around 7lb's.

So the decision to move venues was seemingly a good one and the saying 'Fail to prepare - prepare to fail' springs to my mind!

The Jack Master!
Paddy's Pike

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Plenty of Roach and 6 Jacks

Water Temperature : 7.7 c
Air Temperature : 4.7 c

I fished the canal today, and I decided it was time to dust the pole off and try my hand at catching some Roach. I was rods in by around 8.30am. I fished 3mm bread punch over a little amount of bread crumb, the results were rather pleasing as I caught my first fish within around 25 seconds of putting my bait in, the bites were constant - finally slowing down at around 10.30 in the morning. I caught around 20 Roach in total.

I also fished two Pike rods in the morning, which produced 3 Jacks for my troubles. The temptation to move about and try different swims proved too great for me to refuse, so away went the Pole and I concentrated on the Pike fishing for the rest of the afternoon. Another 3 Jacks added to my total bringing the days tally to 6, no big fish and the biggest of the bunch was around 6 and a half pounds, and the highlight of the session was catching two Pike at the same time, I was watching one float when I glanced at the other and watched it promptly disappear into the murky depths.

I enjoyed myself today, the Pole fishing kept me busy and the Pike fishing provided me with some good sport, the temperatures are now rising and according to my new gadget a 'Reuben Heaton thermometer' the water was warmer by 3 Celsius than the air temperature. I will be recording and documenting the water temp for my blog from today onwards.

A rather amusing self take

Best of the Jacks
Double Whammy!
Water Temperature
Air Temperature