Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
The river again
It's been a bit of a shock returning from 35 degrees and blazing sunshine in Brazil to minus temperatures and rain here in Dorset. However, I was keen to get out fishing again; so as soon as possible when the frost eased, I went to the river in search of dace. There was nothing doing except tiny trout and salmon parr so after half an hour of trotting down I packed in and went home. Then it rained again and the river coloured up even more. Yesterday there was no frost and although I knew that the water would not have cleared I thought it was worth another go.
Within a couple of casts I was getting bites on my maggots and sure enough I began to catch tiny trout again. I thought that the writing was on the wall but it was a pleasant afternoon so I persisted for a while and the eighth fish was clearly something different. I knew almost straight away that I was into a decent grayling and soon I had it ashore to be photographed and weighed - one pound six ounces - not a bad fish. I had a few more casts but the light was already dimming and I was feeling ready for my tea so I opted to have ten minutes after pike before leaving.
I grabbed the pike rod from the car and walked to the nearest decent sized pool at the end of a ditch. I'd tackled up with my usual braid, a metre of 15lb clear Amnesia and a 12kg wire trace armed with a 6/0 circle hook. A slit wine bottle cork served to keep my large dead bait off the bottom. I lowered it in and let it drift round the pool giving the occasional twitch to make it look alive. Nothing doing under the near bank so after a couple of minutes I allowed the slow current to drag it away into the middle of the slack. Suddenly there was a huge boil as a good pike swirled up, grabbed the bait and dragged the cork under. I waited a few seconds and then allowed the line to tighten - I was in!
The fish took line in short bursts but never threatened to find any snags (there were some overhanging bushes close to where I stood) so I was confident that if the hook held I'd land the fish. As the pike came closer I noticed that the hook was beautifully set in the scissors and at this point I realised that in my haste I'd left the net in the car. The river was bank high so I led the fish to the edge and tried to slide it ashore. It was my third attempt before I was able to get a firm grip and drag it onto the grass. Phew! Unhook the pike, weigh it (between 20 and 21lb - my scales are crap), set the camera up on time delay for a picture then put the fish back. Away it swam and I packed up and went for my tea. An excellent hour's fishing. High pressure and mild weather is forecast this week so it looks as though I might get a few more chances to have a go for pike, grayling, dace, etc. before long.
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My grayling - nice to catch a 'real' fish.
A better picture before it went back into the water.
My circle hook had, as usual, worked perfectly.
Excellent fish in mint condition.