In no mood to mess around with float gear, I decided to go for two feeder rods, occasionally sacrificing one for a pike rod. As is usual, fish were topping all across the river while the light levels were low, but they disappeared noticeably as it got brighter.
Bites were never terribly frequent, but all the action took place early in the session. A handful of silver fish were caught (roach and perch), but nothing above 6oz. My first attempt with the pike rod was more successful though and following the first repositioning of the lamprey bait, the float was doing a dance.
A fairly uneventful fight followed and the fish was quickly in the net. It was a long, lean fish that easily has the scope to be a hefty double, but my instincts were that it was still a single figure fish. Brian helped with the weighing and it just sneaked into double figures at 10lb 1oz.
When I looked back at my blog, I spotted that it was the same fish that I caught back in September when it was 10lb 8oz. It came from the same spot in the same swim - maybe it doesn't get out much?!
Bizarrely, my last post of 2014 also saw me catching a 10lb 1oz pike from the Avon, that I'd previously caught a few months earlier. I'd much rather have caught a completely different fish though - even if it was smaller.
As I'm sure many fellow bloggers do around this time, I've been reflecting over the past year's fishing. It was pretty slender pickings for me in 2014 and I probably spent less time than ever on the bank. A positive that came from the year was discovering the River Leam. I've still barely scratched the surface and have made loads of mistakes in my approach to it, but there's enough promise to keep drawing me back. It's a beautiful location where you can just get totally away from everything and that's how I like it.
One thing that I intend to do in 2015 is to diversify a little more. I spent too much time on the same waters in 2014. So, I've drawn up a list of venues I want to fish and I'll chip away at it throughout the year. Big rivers, chalk streams, canals, lakes and reservoirs are all featured. Many of them will be new to me and that's all part of the fun.
I've also been busy making a few new floats over the festive season, having received a fresh stock of supplies. It's just something I enjoy doing during quiet times when I can't get out fishing and I've done it for about 5 years now. Some are a little bizarre and experimental, but here's a selection of balsa bodied floats that are waiting for their final coats of yacht varnish. They are a mixture of cane and crowquill.
Apart from pike floats and controllers, I only ever use my own floats now. I'm sure the shop bought articles provide greater flexibility and more of a range, but there's nothing better than using a home-made version where every one is unique and built with quality in mind. They also work out cheaper.
Fishing related presents were thin on the ground this year, but one product I received was the Wychwood Solace Bucket Tool Station.
Thanks to Mick Newey for highlighting it in one his past posts. With the handy outer pockets, it's bang on what I needed. I detached the seat cover from mine as I don't really need it.
As I write this, the rivers are now full of cold water again. Hopefully things will settle down during the week and will allow for some decent fishing by next weekend.