It was a glorious evening with the added bonus (if that's the right word!) of the last half hour of the test match on the radio, followed by a Warwickshire (or should I say Birmingham) Bears T20 clash. Fishing, cricket, decent weather and a river to myself - a perfect match.
A few balls of groundbait were plopped into place across two lines - one just off the platform for the perch line and another around a rod length out for the stick line. Dace were plentiful to maggot on the stick line and all the time I was feeding maggots on the perch line. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a decent (2lb+) perch moving amonsgt the maggots I'd just fed, so I decided to see what it thought of a prawn.
I dropped one above its head and watched it sink down through the clear water. The perch took it like a dream on the drop - but then spat it out equally as quickly. Bugger! Undeterred I gave it a go with the prawns but I never had a take - just a few sharp plucks that might well have been line bites. Maggots didn't do the trick either. Decent perch were in the swim throughout the session though - another time maybe...
The stick line continued to produce small fish throughout the session with roach, perch, dace, gudgeon and bleak all showing. Out of the blue I had a slow take that I thought was just the line dragging bottom, but the bottom began to move! It was a heavy fish, but certainly very ponderous too. On light tackle I could only let it take line as it swam out towards mid river. Then the hook pulled, followed by a few expletives.
I figured it either had to be a bream or perhaps a foul hooked fish that didn't even realise it was hooked. I upped the hook size to a 14 and gave it another go. Within 10 minutes I was into a bream which was hooked much better and this one made it to the bank. It was in the 3.5lb to 4lb range. Not a big bream I guess, but it's nice to get one trotting at close range on the centre pin.
For the last half hour I was piked out. Fish after fish was attacked and in all but one case I managed to pull the fish clear of the pike's jaws. The one fish that was grabbed had a lucky escape. I'd played the pike for around 2 minutes and I've generally found that if they stay on for that long, I usually get them in. Quite often in these cases the hook has transferred from the prey fish to the pike and careful playing will win the day.
In this case it just turned out that the pike was ultra stubborn and wouldn't give up his supper. Eventually it did let go and I swung the dace into hand. It was barely marked and still seemed to be OK. I popped it into the landing net to give it a breather and it then swam off with plenty of gusto.
I packed up when the bells of a local church chimed for 10pm and I could barely see my float. It was a pleasant evening session with lots of fish showing and hopefully I'll find an opportunity to repeat it soon - not forgetting my worms next time!