Perch were high on the agenda this month and I soon had the kit loaded in the van and was the long drive. Arriving at dawn I had a good look around to familiarise myself with the venue before settling into a peg with an inviting snaggy margin to my right. I was soon using my trusty homemade bait dropper to introduce a mixture of red maggots, chopped worms and diced prawn accurately onto the deeper marginal shelf.
Two rods were rigged up on a simple running ledger setup, incorporating a Enterprise Tackle Snag Safe Lead Clip, which is an excellent way of keeping resistant to a minimum. A 12 inch 5lb Target fluorocarbon hooklength was quickly tied up and a large prawn was nicked onto a size 6 Wide Gape Talon Tip hook.
After a heavy frost the night before, it wasn’t surprising that the morning passed without any action. However, during the afternoon the fish sound found the feed and after several line bites I was soon netting my first fish of the session weighing 3lb 2oz. A further four fish followed, including several weighing over 2lbs and made for a good start to my first visit to the venue.
Unsurprisingly the following weekend I repeated the process and again arrived at dawn. This time there was a cold northerly wind blowing into the snags and this time the swim looked less inviting. Instead I chose to try an area of sheltered water between a network of islands. This proved a good move as shortly after getting the rods out, I received a bite which resulted in a perch weighing 3lb 0z 8drams. The action was consistent throughout the day and I managed to land a further five fish, again several weighing over 2lbs, with the highlight being an immaculate fish weighing 2lb 10oz.
I decided to fish closer to home for my next few trips and decided to turn my attention to pike. Big pike are a species that I have become fascinated with during the last twelve months. I always find it hard to sleep the night before, such is my enthusiasm and there is nothing more exciting than sitting by a huge gravel pit not knowing whether the next bite is going to produce a three pounder or a thirty pounder.
On large waters I like to keep mobile and trying to locate the fish, which can often be very nomadic. During the first two sessions I managed to find the fish fairly quickly and landed five doubles for my efforts. The temperatures plummeted over the next week and after a blank morning I had a feeling that the fish may have moved into the deeper water. A move paid off and I was soon returning a mid-double.
The following weekend I headed back to the same swim and at dawn I soon had two baits positioned out to the area. A couple of hours later one of the rods was away and I pulled into what I knew instantly was a good fish. After a dogged fight, which was hardly surprising consider the cold conditions, I soon slipped the net under my prize. After carefully remove the hooks I noticed it had a blemish on its back so rather than put the fish through the stress of weighing I decided to get it straight back.
The forecast for the next week looks pretty chilly, so I won’t be packing away the pike kit away just yet…