Saturday, 3 January 2009

Cold December Day on the Dove

Tuesday 30th December 2008

For this session I had decided to fish for Grayling due to the consistent cold weather we have been experiencing over the last few weeks.

The Dove being the venue, and on arrival to my swim I was quite surprised to find the air temperature up as much as 5 deg C, the water temp was 5.5 deg C, remaining at this all day until the around last hour of daylight when it had dropped by a degree to 4.5C

I saw a grey wagtail land next to me, but it had flown across to the opposite bank by the time my camera was ready for this shot.

For my rig I used the same tactics as my last Grayling session, a cage feeder filled with mixed breadcrumb and red maggots both dead and lives, to hopefully draw the fish in. This tactic was employed all day trying in two different pegs, but never produced any response (that I noticed any way), except for one of my last casts of the day when I had a definite pull on the tip, and on retrieval found a maggot was missing from the pair that had been placed on the hook.

Early on in the session I had walked the whole stretch to pick out any likely looking swims, this being my first visit to this part of the Dove. I checked a likely looking near bank swim, and when I cautiously peered down into the clear water as stealthily as I could, to my amazement I noticed 3 large Perch skulking in the near margin about 3 ft down, their bold black stripes clearly standing out in contrast to their surroundings as they hovered motionless. I would estimate the largest to be 2lb+ possibly even a 3lber ? The other two I could see were roughly two thirds the size, making them all worthy targets. Its difficult to really guess their size, but put it this way they were all big perch ! so rightly or wrongly I decided to wait for the onset of evening to have a go for them (this being about noon).

So at about 3:30 pm I had moved into position ready to try for one of the beauties that lay below! Within seconds of dropping the poor hapless worm into position the float had bobbed a couple of times, slid across the surface away from me and then stopped. My heart in my mouth, I waited, nothing happened for a moment or two, then finally the float twitched again, bobbed and started to slide away and under the surface again. This time I made no hesitation and struck.

The Rod arched over as the weight of a reasonable fish loaded up the test curve. The fish powered away to my right and out toward the middle of the river, at this point I was still thinking " yes a good perch at last" when I saw the length of the Pike I was attached to flash under the surface. Damn I thought, then realised It might be a good Pike. The fish fought quite well testing the clutch on my reel and putting the rod through its paces. When it was ready for the net I desperately tried to get the net over the barbed wire fence in front of me but instead managed to get the mesh stuck on some of the barbs. After a frantic few moments I had managed to free the net again and was ready to steer the fish into it. When I peered down into the water again to begin guiding my fish in again, I was surprised to see another Pike larger than the one I was already playing following it. My guess is it was sizing it up for a meal!

I managed to bundle the pike into the net and lifted it clear of the water. It weighed 5lb 8oz and is a new PB so I was quite chuffed with it in the end. The larger Pike I estimated to be a low double as it was nearly twice the length of the fish I landed. I think there might be quite a few pike (mainly jacks I suspect)in this stretch of river, as I had seen a Pike angler land one earlier in the day not far from this swim.
I had one more cast that produced nothing, so were the perch still there ? I don't know, somehow I doubt it once the Pike had moved in. An interesting session though all in all, with some good swims located for future reference.

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