A Sunday session for a change this week (yes I'm still car sharing!) and with cold weather predicted I decided to pursue Pike again on the river. It was 0C when I arrived and it felt a bit cooler than that with the wind chill.
The river was the lowest I'd seen it in months - perphaps within an inch or so of normal. It was still carrying a nice tinge of colour too. I felt a strange, perhaps misplaced, confidence, on what seemed like a new river. I'd actually been like a child waiting for Christmas morning over the previous couple of days - knowing for once that I'd find the river bang on, rather than having to battle against what it was throwing at me.
I had the section to myself, which is par for the course at this time of year. I went for my usual plan of starting out in one of the banker pegs (also the shortest walk) and then I'd move further upstream taking in a few other pegs, before working my way back over the same ground.
I kicked off with 2 floatfished deadbaits and worked my way around the swim, alternating Lamprey, Smelt and Roach.
An hour or so in and nothing was happening. I moved to the next peg and repeated the dose. Same result! Things weren't going to plan.
Time for another move to the next peg, which was a tighter peg and only suited to 1 rod. Although halving my options I don't mind giving the peg a chance as it has thrown up a mid double for me in the past. Not today though!
I had one further upstream move in mind, but I before I went for it I moved back a peg and made the best decision of the day. I broke down one of the float rigs and set it up for wobbling a deadbait - just tying on a trace and pinching on a couple of swan shot directly above it.
To cut that wobbling story short, it failed miserably across all 3 pegs I tried it on. So why was it such a good decision you ask? When I settled back down to a static approach on the penultimate peg of the day, I now had a float rig and my wobbling rig. The advantage of the wobbling rig is that it's also ideal for legering deadbaits in the margins.
After about 5 minutes I noticed the line twitch on the legered set up. The line tightened briefly, went slack again and then fully tightened. Fish on at last! It put up a good scrap while it remained deeper in the water and I was thinking it might be a double. It surrendered tamely when it hit the surface though, at which point the double went out of the window.
It was a clean fish of 8lb 6oz and is a step in the right direction, albeit a long way short of the mid/upper double I've been aiming for this year.
That was the only fish, but on a bitterly cold day I was happy with anything.
It looks like we're in for more of the cooler weather this week, but thankfully not too much of the wet stuff and the frosts aren't too severe either. Dare I tempt fate and look forward to the river being in decent nick again next week?! My car situation should also be sorted out by next week, which will be a great relief. No more asking to be dropped off or having to ask permission to go fishing!