The path from my house to the car glistened in the pre dawn moonlight my Skeetex Thermal boots my only protection from the harsh frost laden ground. The car groaned as she began her task of clearing the windscreen to allow my journey to begin. Clear skies over night had lured jack frost from his icy lair and with -4 registering on the cars thermostat it surely would only be a fool who would be venturing out in such conditions, in some eyes maybe a bigger fool as my journey was in search of a fish. That fish today would be the pike.
In such harsh conditions all still waters where a no go and I knew my only chance of fishing would be to head to moving water on the rivers. The deep depths of a local river was my destination where recent recces had seen me discover deep water away from the popular busy hotspots.
On a run of 4 for pike I knew it was important to remain focussed and have faith in my tactics. My favourite saying was ring in my ears.
what worked before will work now, time on the bank is the only way to change the run
I was joined on this trip by my mate Garry and arriving on the bank we where met with the sight of half the River frozen solid with only a 100 metre gap kept ice free by a side stream allowing us room for our rods.
My tactics on the day where to fish one rod on the float ledger set up and another on a running ledger on the bottom. The float rod consisted of a Fox rubber float stop, two beads, Fox 18 Gram Slim line Slider float down to a Fox in-line stubby sinker and a Fox Quick change swivel. My ledger set up I keep as simple as possible with a Fox low resistance run ring, two beads to help separation on the cast, a rubber swivel cover and again a Fox Quick change swivel.
Attached to the swivels on each rig was a homemade 18 inch wire trace made up of E-SOX Super Trace 34lb Wire and Two E-SOX Size 4 Semi-Barbed treble hooks. The Float rod was fished with half a sardine and ledger rod with a popped up roach and being the river both baits where laced heavily with Mackerel Flavoured Pike Pro Oil administered via a syringe.
One bait down the middle and my other float fished bait fished down the inside shelf I laid my traps and awaited the pikes next move. An early lost fish for my mate gave us both confidences of fish in the area. Around an hour in my sardine float twitched before slowly sliding away, a short countdown and a hard strike to set the hooks saw me play a lovely marked pike onto the bank. 10lb on the nose I was made up with breaking the short run of blanks.
No sooner had I released the pike and recast was the rod again on the move and this time striking I knew I was into something more substantial. An epic battle later I was holding up 17lb 10oz of beautifully marked river pike. Against the winter background it was a perfect scene to leave behind the run of blanks.
Two fish in such a short space of time come as no surprise as pike do have regimented feeding periods of high activity but the down side of this is long periods of inactivity and it come as little surprise that as soon as the pike came they went and despite our best efforts the rest of the session passed by quietly.
Thank you for taking the time to read this River pike blog.