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Euro Fishing: Clint Walker - Catching a Croc...

I’ve had another difficult week, with hours on the bank in short supply after a family bereavement, and the requirement to help sort subsequent arrangements. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, once the initial shock had worn off, and family life had returned to some normality, I did manage to get a few hours on the bank…

I wanted to go and try another ‘new’ water, a small venue known as Pit Pool on the Fenton and District Angling Society club card, where I’d heard of some reasonable pike being seen. A friend had asked me for some advice, stating that he was a relative newcomer to deadbait fishing, and after an exchange of messages, he was pleased to land a fine fish of 16lb 4oz; his first ever fish on deadbaits! Needless to say, I was delighted for him, and was looking forward to exploring the pool in search of similar pike myself.

It was wet and windy when I arrived, so the first thing up was the umbrella, firmly anchored and pegged down, just to provide a little respite from the bitterly cold breeze which gusted across the pool. Everything else was hurriedly set out beneath the shelter, then my rods were quickly pieced together, and a simple trace attached to each. I fish very simple tactics when legering deadbaits, firmly believing that less is more, and a wide bore run ring, to which a lead is clipped, butting up against a bead protecting the trace swivel, is all that goes on. On the trebles, a fresh deadbait, often with a bit of colour or oil added, is nicked onto semi-barbed hooks, and it’s good to go; simple, but effective if the fish are there and feeding. It’s a basic set up, but it casts well, and offers hardly any resistance to a hungry pike. The only stipulation I have is to use a heavy lead to ensure it stays in place when the pike picks up the bait and isn’t dragged across the lake bed causing the predator to spit out the bait.

rods

On one rod, a plump roach, on the other, a small joey mackerel with the stomach cavity pumped full of herring oil, and both were gently lobbed out. The roach to the shadow of a floating island, the mackerel towards marginal reeds. Both were clipped into RAD Angling pike indicators, and then I huddled under the brolly as the rain started to slant across the water and the air temperature plummeted. As I’ve mentioned before I like to work the swim, moving the baits every hour until I contact fish, but this time I didn’t have to. Within thirty minutes, the alarm guarding the roach hookbait gave a shrill squeal, and I watched the indicator climb towards the reel before falling gently away and allowing line to spill forward. I was on the rod quickly, clamping the spool, and sweeping the carbon aloft, to be met with solid resistance as the pike on the other end felt the trebles strike home!

The fish that had been caught earlier by my friend had come from the peg in which I now sat, and as a dull thudding scrap ensued, I hoped it was of similar size. A couple of plodding runs were easily absorbed by my trusted (but old) Sonik SK3 xtr rod, which has a meaty three pound test curve yet forgiving tip, and the fish was steadily moved closer to my waiting net. As is often the case, when the pike spotted the mesh, it flipped off on another gill busting run, but once turned, it was beaten, and slid gracefully across the surface until enveloped and lifted onto the mat. It was a very pale pike, in keeping with the murky water from which it came, but in excellent condition, aside from a notch missing from one of the gill plates; an old wound, safely healed.

Only one treble had found purchase, and it was quickly removed with a deft twist of the forceps, and safely put to the side. The pike lay glistening on the mat, and was settled enough to weigh, and quickly photograph, before it was lifted back into the margins and left to rest in my flotation sling. I use a flotation sling as it fully supports the lengthy fish as it is lifted without folding or breaking fins, and I can slide it into the water to let the predator regain its composure as it slips away. Pike are delicate fish despite a fearsome reputation and deserve to be handled with utmost care, yet it still disappoints me that some anglers are woefully ill prepared… I have no idea why, there is ample information available to ensure that any angler is properly equipped!

rods

As the weather continued to get worse, the baits were moved on the hour to new positions as I strived to tempt another fish. After six hours though, I was cold, and had had enough. A single fish was a good reward in testing conditions, and as I packed up, I messaged my friend with a picture to tell him I’d caught. “Hmm… did it have a nick on the gill plate?” I replied that it did. Unbelievably, it was the same fish he had caught less than forty eight hours earlier! It’s not the first time I’ve heard of quick recaptures for pike, indeed, I had the same fish twice in three days at another venue, but it is testament to the fact that if treated correctly, with due diligence, then pike are happy to begin feeding again soon after capture… and that, to me, is the best result of all…

I’ll be back again soon, but next time I’ll try a different peg, and hopefully catch that ‘monster’ which is rumoured to reside within The Pit; wish me luck…

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