Christmas Eve fishing is something I look forward to over the festive period. Last year I couldn't get near the river due to flooding, but conditions were bang on this year down the Avon.
I planned a rare two river attack for a change. The early part of the day was set aside for some piking, to make best use of the low light conditions. It was a beautiful morning, with fish topping everywhere and I felt totally confident of banishing my two previous blank pike sessions from memory.
I only took one rod - a bit of a fun rod too, being just a light six foot lure rod. With time in my mind I went straight for the banker swim.
Around half an hour in I was starting to get twitchy and as I often do at these times, I began taking photos. Perched behind the rod I eyed up a downstream shot and fired away. Then I looked back to the water and my float was bobbing away merrily! You can see the ripples in the photo.
Popping the camera down I waited for their float to slide away and hit the bite. Fish on and a fairly solid one at that, but all too quickly, fish off. It was probably a double, but I always say that when I lose them!
I was a little gutted and wondered if my chance had been blown, but I needn't have worried. The float was soon dancing away again and a long, lean fish of around six pound was given the comfy mat treatment.
Relieved to have broken the duck, I switched to a different part of the peg in search of something bigger. I broke out a lamprey section and hooked it very lightly. I had wrecked my trace on the previous fish and only had smaller trebles available. I wanted to avoid burying the hooks too much.
I saw a typical twitch on the float, which heightened my attention. Then a little bob about 10 seconds later. Any moment now I thought....
But nothing happened. That wasn't part of the plan, so after a couple of minutes I lost patience and reeled in. No bait! The fish must have whipped the lightly held bait off the hook.
Although disappointed, I knew there was a fish in the swim who'd just had a free starter, so I was determined to make the main course count.
Less than five minutes later from the same spot (under my feet really) I was battling another pike. It felt small at first, but the fight got stronger. It was good fun on a lighter outfit and the hooks just about did their job, falling out in the net.
It was just a double - 10lb 1oz. Now I can't help thinking that if, as is highly likely, this was the same fish that gobbled up the lamprey section that was pinched five minutes beforehand, then it wouldn't have been a double had I hooked it first time!
I'm a stickler for keeping photos of my pike and I always try to photograph them in the same direction to help with identification in future. Pike are so unique with their markings.
A quick check through my photos saw that this one had met me before, back at the end of August. Although it was a poor photo last time taken late in the evening, it's clearly the same fish. The good news is that it was bang on 9lb last time, so it's doing very nicely.
|August capture at 9lb|
I called it a day and headed of for a crack at the Leam. I shouldn't have bothered! I fished it all wrong - like a total amateur if I'm honest. Just a couple of roach and a dace to show for it. Oh well, 50% of the day went right! I just wish I had stayed on the Avon now, but that's fishing I guess. I'll make plenty more bad decisions I'm sure.
Have a good Christmas and I'll hopefully be checking in again with another session before the year ends.