I'd already got pike rods ready to go, so I picked out one of those. The other rig would be a light bomb on a short 8ft quiver tip set up. The short rod was perfect for fishing just beyond the platform I intended to fish and where I know the perch (and pike) often hang out.
I was on the bank for 7am, struggling to see what I was doing through the gloom, but basking in the double figure temperature. Was it really mid October?! I popped out a deadbait a little upstream and initially ignored my plans and spent 45 minutes catching dace, roach and chub on the bomb rig slightly downstream. All the time I was also feeding the swim directly in front of the platform, but biding my time. Initially the maggot approach had been slow, but after 10 minutes the fish switched on and it was one a chuck - nothing of any size though.
I then plopped the maggots down in the platform swim and got an instant take. Then a whooosshh, as a pike propelled itself from beneath my platform and towards my fish. Luckily for the dace I reacted quickly and it was lifted to hand. Clearly the predators were present, so I moved the deadbait across and switched to a lobworm slightly downstream.
The worm didn't really yield a lot on this occasion though - the best being a perch perhaps a shade over a pound. The static deadbait rod wasn't working, so I ditched the float and tried wobbling the bait around the swim - again no takers. I then went for legering and it did the trick. I had a take that resulted in a lost fish, but half an hour later I managed to stay connected to my first pike of the season, which fell to a smelt enhanced with some red coloured liquid worm flavouring. I have no idea if the enhancer helps, but I think it makes the bait stand out nicely. It wasn't a huge fish by any means, but at 7lb 6oz it gets the pike season moving for me.
If the weather and river both stay half decent and I get the chance of some longer sessions, I'll probably put the pike on hold for a while. I really want to give the bream and perch some serious attention for hopefully another month, to see if I can crack a couple of personal bests.