Another short Saturday afternoon session this week on the Avon. The changing of the clocks signals the end of this routine for me, but it also means that some dedicated predator sessions are just around the corner (when it eventually gets cold).
I always like this transitional period. Dace and roach that were often hard to come by in the heat of summer are now eager to feed hard ahead of the winter months. It's like a different river and the silver fish are easy to catch in big numbers.
That's how it started this week anyway. It was great fun just trotting a couple of maggots on a size 16 below a home made Avon float, teasing it through the 6 feet deep swim with a centre pin reel.
Bites came instantly from both roach and dace. Four runs through yielded four fish and then came the all too familiar washing machine impression beneath my feet as the fourth fish went back.
It was a sure sign that a pike was in the swim. I didn't think I'd get through the day without seeing one and I came prepared to sieze any opportunities like this. Out with the pike gear, on with a smelt and wait patiently for the perpetrator to show up.
It took all of one cast for it show its hand. A small jack was bagged and taken away a few pegs upstream to clear the path for the silvers again.
And that pretty much set the tone for the day. Catch a few roach and dace, excite the pike, catch pike and start again. I had a dabble at the perch in between with worms and even a bit of drop shotting (a new one for me), but it wasn't a success.
I had a further 3 pike, but they were all jacks.
The final one was marginally the biggest and also fought very hard. It came at last knockings and I could barely see the float. After a bit of dentistry by headlight I called it a day as an owl begin to hoot in the background - too spooky for me!
It's amazing what a difference a few weeks makes. Three weeks previous I spent 4 hours solely fishing for pike across 3 swims (including the one i fished this time) and totally blanked.
This week I only had a deadbait in the water for maybe an hour in total and bagged 4 fish from the same swim, all from a similar area close to the bank.
I do feel that by feeding up a shoal of prey fish and having them regularly flapping through the swim as they are caught and then swimming back through it after release, is a kind of pre-baiting for the main course. It's the best of both worlds for me. I get to catch fish on the stick, all the time improving the pike prospects.
No big girls on show just yet though but I've learned that you just have to be patient and wade through the jacks. They will show up in time.
Next week sees us with some unseasonably mild weather again with southerly winds picking up and taking over at the back end of the week. Until we hit a proper cold spell I'll continue my two pronged attack I think.