Rough and ready

Whether I'm fishing the sea or freshwater I generally like a bit of colour in the water. There is no doubt that many fish bite better when it is not gin clear. Well this week I had my wish. Three days of heavy rain have coloured things up to the extent that the river was largely unfishable - it was so bad that I was even driven to trying carp fishing in a local lake on one day. I managed three bites on floating bread (I know, I know! - I should have fished on the bottom!) but caught nothing.

Towards the end of the week when the river had had 48 hours to clear a bit I went pike fishing. First I took my grandson Ben for his introduction to piking. Sure enough - first cast - with his float fished dead bait away went the float. Ben's only six and he hung onto the rod manfully as the pike dragged him to and fro along the bank. After a five minute battle I was able to lift the fish out for a picture. After he had seen the teeth in the pike's mouth the best I could get Ben to do was touch the fish as it lay on the ground. A little while later he had a smaller fish and that was the end of our baits.

It rained again that night so next time I went it was dirtier. Needless to say it was slow and I had fished for the best part of an hour before there was a big swirl under my spoon. I cast again and once more the fish lunged at the spoon and failed to ingest it. Quite unlike me (I generally leave them alone if they keep missing) because I thought (rightly) it might be the only bite I would get, I decided to change the lure to a balsa plug. My reasoning was that the fish would find it easier to 'suck' the lightweight lure into its mouth should it decide to have another go. Sure enough, next cast, I was into the pike and duly landed and released it after a bit of a tussle.

By this time I was feeling the need to go to the coast so, next morning I decided to have a trip to the Purbecks. When my alarm went off I could hear the rain pattering down on the roof of the porch but by the time I had dressed it seemed to have stopped. A quick drive down to the coast and as I got out of the car the wind nearly flattened me. I could hear the heavy surf pounding the cobbles on the beach but I was not too worried, the spot I was going to fish was often best in these conditions.

A fifteen minute walk later I realised that all was not well. Generally the headland protects my chosen stretch from the waves but today there was just too much south in the wind and the surf was pounding in. My best alternative (out on the headland itself) was so rough that it would have been suicidal to try. I stood and looked at the sea but there was no sign of any fish. I had a few cast with a popper but to no avail then I walked slowly along, fishing where I could, looking all the time for a bit of shelter or signs of fish - nothing!!! Well after last week's bonanza I suppose I deserve a couple of blanks. I'm waiting for it to subside now so that I can try freelining a mackerel head but as I look out of the window it's still blowing hard.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.' get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com


Think like a fish.

Rough and ready.

Ben's first pike.

A cracking fish that pulled him all over the place.

My plugged pike.

Not such a nice fish but satisfying.

Too damned rough.

I fished but caught and saw  nothing.

The same day.

This chap said it wasn't windy enough for him to get his board up in the heavy swell but it was useless for plugging.