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Posts Tagged ‘Pike’

Following my discovery of the magical little pool on the local stream trickling around our village, I decided to have a re-visit with a few long reach garden tools in an attempt to slightly improve the fishing potential. Nothing too disturbing as I always prefer to leave nature to itself as a rule, just a small tidy up of existing hazards and snags to improve the flow, and the removal of several sections of Himalayan Balsam that have appeared following the wet winter. I also cut a narrow route through a high nettle copse to a second small swim tight to the old railway bridge.

For those of you who as yet unaware of the spread of Himalayan Balsam then I strongly suggest that you read up about and learn to recognise it and how to remove it (obviously seek permission of the land owner as some people unfortunately treat it as an attractive and welcome plant, even to the extent of spreading the seed themselves!!!). This plant could ultimately lead to severe river bank destruction if not eradicated and I understand it is on the EA’s hit list along with signal crayfish). A good starting point is to read this article.

And so a couple of before and after pics.

Towards the Bridge - Before

Towards the Bridge – Before

A general removal of debris, Balsam and the reduction in size of a large overhanging branch.

Towards the Bridge - After

Towards the Bridge – After

No weed, rush or sweet grass was touched as this is providing good cover for the smaller fish present, plus a good ambush site for the resident Perch. And still plenty of bankside vegetation overhanging a slightly undercut bank, again also providing good cover. In fact I swear I saw a small Jack Pike come charging out of this cover following my float splashdown. Hmmm! Makes sense to see the Jacks here as about a mile or so downstream this water joins with the Moors River which is known for it’s Pike.

Pool exit - Before

Pool exit – Before

Almost entirely an exercise in the removal of old debris (lots of it), though a small amount of pruning was made to the overhanging trees.

Pool Exit - After

Pool Exit – After

Vastly improved pool. At this, the widest point in this small pool the width is estimated to be about 25-30ft with a max depth of around 4ft towards the far bank. Depth of water below the weed and sweet grass is about 2½ft. The far bank has been left as is. There are a large number of underwater roots with numerous hollows and undercuts providing additional shelter for fish.

I have fished this pool on three additional occasions since carrying out this work and myself and No.2 Son have consistently caught Dace, Perch, Roach and Wild Brown Trout. Even the wife caught a trout, unfortunately (the screams of joy and fulfilment  deafened all within 50yds, mammal, fish, insect and human).

Shortly after publishing my original post on this stream (Small Stream Discoveries) I was contacted by village fishing buddy Steve asking where this pool was. Well, local lad as he is I gave him directions and then met him there the same evening. Steve was keen to give it a go, especially for the wild trout, and we returned on the Wednesday with a half pint of maggots and plenty of hope. A few Dace and Perch caught, and I am pleased to say that Steve got his wish.

Steve's First Wild Trout

Steve’s First Wild Trout

Wild Brown Trout

Wild Brown Trout

They may not be big, but they put up a helluva scrap.

I have no doubt the story of this stream will be continued.

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Many, many years ago I set myself a few targets to achieve on the riverbank. The targets were to catch:

  1. 3lb Roach
  2. 7lb Chub
  3. Double figure Barbel
  4. 20lb Pike

Made more in hope than realism at the time (the seventies), it just goes to show how our rivers have improved, and that these same targets are no longer pipe dreams. In fact a lot of you may say that at least three of them are easily realistic (the Roach is still a helluva target). Until Thursday of last week I had achieved two of those targets.

Target one. Sometime during the late eighties I fished a short wandering session on the Dorset Stour near Longham, equipped only with a pouch of inch bread cubes, an 11ft split cane Hardy Avon (I loved that rod), a pack of hooks, some split shot and a landing net. That little session found a shoal of big Roach tight to the far bank beneath a small tree overhang. First fish caught and one of my targets was landed, an immaculate fish of fractionally over 3lb. This was followed by a further fish of 3lb 1oz and remains to this day one of my most memorable angling moments.

Target two was finally reached a few years ago, again on the Dorset Stour, this time at Muscliffe. Falling once again to a large bread bait, I tempted a beautifully conditioned Chub of 7lb 1oz. This fish was beaten by a 7lb 4oz fish just a couple of years ago from the same stretch of river (blog report here).

Target four remains to be beaten, though to be fair I have seldom fished for Pike throughout the years and have only recently targeted them seriously; and that being mainly due to my increasing use of lures. This is a target I hope to finally bank this coming Autumn / Winter.

And so we come to target three.

At the time that these targets were made in my mind, a double figure Barbel was a dream for many anglers. With the increase in Barbel numbers, and the better management of our rivers, this dream is now reachable to most if time and effort is put in. I say most but; I have been seeking a double for forty years, good old Dad has not had a double in sixty-four years of angling. Rather strange when you think we live near to a couple of the most famous Barbel waters in the country. In Dad’s case, he lived overlooking the famous Throop Fishery for nineteen years, and spent many, many hours chasing his favourite fish. A multitude of Barbel caught over the years, especially by Dad, but the double eluded us with Dad peaking at 9lb 12oz. Close but no cigar.

So this is where the apology in the title comes from. Sixty-Four years of angling, many of those catching Barbel, and he still waits. And then we have one afternoon / evening session last week and I catch two doubles in an hour. Ooops!

Truthfully, Dad couldn’t be happier that I’ve got my target. And the state of Barbel fishing on the Stour at the moment suggests he’ll finally have his double soon.

As to the fish, both fell to hair rigged luncheon meat on a plain leger fished on a rising slope downstream of a large hole. First fish was exactly 12lb and fought slowly for a Barbel, but from the hook set refused to budge from the river bed. A very powerful fish that just chugged away on the bottom like a traction engine. And bloody well felt like one as well. I only have the one reasonable (but slightly out of focus) pic I’m afraid cos mister brains here left the focus on macro and hadn’t noticed until too late.

12lb Barbel, Throop, Dorset Stour. Yay!

12lb Barbel, Throop, Dorset Stour. Yay!

Second fish came slightly closer to the near bank after I had spotted it searching around along the slope. Weighing in at 11lb 4oz, this fish was a scrapper and shot away downstream to be followed by a very spirited series of fast powerful runs. I think Dad will always remember my comment after he had shouted over to as I lifted the fish out of the water.

‘What’s that one like then’, he says, gruffly.

‘Umm……er…….I don’t think you’re gonna bloody like me Dad. It’s another double’ I squeaks.

At least I managed to get a slightly better pic of this one. Just excuse the inane grinning gnome holding the fish.

11lb 4oz Barbel, Throop

11lb 4oz Barbel, Throop

So there we go. Finally another target packed away, with just the Pike to go. And I am pretty positive that sometime very soon I will be putting up that report of Dad finally getting his double. In fact we’re having another go this very afternoon. Roll out the luncheon meat.

 

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This Friday I was drafted (willingly) to take good friend and fishing buddy John to Blandford Hospital (Dorset) so that the local surgeon could chip, grind and saw some pieces of the bones in his foot. Don’t ask! However, while he was to have this day surgery, what was I to do? Well as it happened Ringwood District AA hold the fishing rights to a couple of stretches of the Dorset Stour within a couple of miles of the hospital. Well I couldn’t miss an opportunity to go fishing could I.

I decided given the short timescale to have a couple of hours LRF  fishing along a slow deep (and very beautiful) stretch known for it’s head of Perch amongst other fish. In addition, I also took with me some HRF gear to try and bag a Pike or two. Both would be firsts for me using these methods.

Havelins, Dorset Stour

Havelins, Dorset Stour

LRF setup was the Major Craft Solpara 7’3″ Solid Tip with Shimano Exage 2500FC, Sunline Small Game 0.3pe, 4lb Fluoro Leader to a 1.4g Shirasu Size 10 Jighead. I took a selection of SP’s with me, mostly curly tailed grubs, paddles and Isomes.

Lure of the hour for the Perch was a 1.25in White Curly Tail Grub (AGM I think) and I was soon banking my first Perch on LRF gear. Nothing massive but a steady 4-8 oz class of fish, all taking the lure mid-water close to the bank. A steady retrieve was untouched but a shallow sink and draw with occasional twitches was hit quite confidently.

My First Perch to LRF Methods

My First Perch to LRF Methods

And another Perch

And another Perch

I had around 8(ish) Perch overall during the first 45 minutes, but had noticed a few swirls towards the far bank and assumed a feeding Pike was about, so switched to the HRF setup (Bushwhacker XLNT 8ft 15-50g, Shimano Exage 2500RC, 12lb Power Pro with 10lb Fluoro Leader and wire trace link).

As there were so many Perch around, I opted to use a 4.25in Yoshikawa Superworm in Red with Gold Flakes fished weedless on a JacksLRF 1/0 EWG offset hook. Casting this as close as possible to the far bank this was retrieved slowly through and past a bank of rushes with occasional twitches. Third cast and a swirl and take, quick run and fish off.

Ok, try again. Fourth of fifth cast later and a much better fish on which ran upstream for  15 yards or so before again slipping the hook, though knowing Pike it probably just had hold of the lure and wouldn’t let go. Not so good so far. About 15-20 minutes later I had another take from a smaller fish and this time obtained a good hook hold. Nice little fight on the Bushwhacker and my first HRF Pike is on the bank. Only 4lb or so (not weighed) but a very welcome fish.

First HRF Pike on Yoshikawa Superworm

First HRF Pike on Yoshikawa Superworm

It was around about 4lb

It was around about 4lb

That was good timing, as pack up and of to the hospital to cheer up John after his foot carpentry job. An enjoyable couple of hours. For me of course.

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This afternoon saw myself and Dad fishing ‘The Hole’ on Beat Two of Throop on the Dorset Stour. This is a 6-7ft deep section of around twenty yards length between shallow runs. A good holding spot for Chub, Dace and Roach and also some quality Perch. And as I was to find out, Pike.

Dad set up on the upstream end of The Hole and legered mainly the far bank where there was a bit more flow and a little shelter for any fish.

The Hole, Throop (Upstream Section)

The Hole, Throop (Upstream Section)

I fished towards the downstream section with a feeder between mid-water and the far bank, but also trotted a wire stick along a deep section about 1½ rod lengths out.

The Hole, Throop (Downstream Section)

The Hole, Throop (Downstream Section)

Things were a little quiet for the first hour and then Dad hit into a good Chub of 4lb 13oz on Luncheon Meat that put up a very good account of itself. This was followed shortly by one of only about 12oz for me, also on meat.

4lb 13oz Chub from Throop

4lb 13oz Chub from Throop

Things once again went a bit quiet for around an hour, unless of course you count Dad’s first Barbel of the year. To say that we at first thought it was a large Gudgeon tells you what sort of size it was!! Very nice to see new stock from old though.

I decided at this stage to switch to the match rod / stick float setup at this point and started to trot a single sweetcorn, trundling the bait just on bottom. Fourth trot down and the float buried rapidly and I was into a good fish. It felt quite a good size but a bit lathargic so I assumed I had hit into one of the big Bream that frequent this area. However, about 30 seconds into the fight it decided to up the tempo and flashed just under the surface. A Pike. On single sweetcorm.

Having only 4lb line straight through to a size 14 wide gape wasn’t necessarily a problem as I was using my favourite centrepin reel, for me the ideal tool for playing big fish on light tackle. It did give me a few dodgy moments during the fight, which once it had started was exciting and a great deal of fun. This fish did not want to come in, but come in it did. Landed and weighed in at 10lb 5oz. Not a monster but a very enjoyable and welcome bonus fish.

10lb 5oz Sweet-Toothed Pike from Throop

10lb 5oz Sweet-Toothed Pike from Throop

I finished the session having caught about 6-7 small Chub, a few Dace and the Pike, with all except the one Chub caught while trotting. Dad managed a couple more small Chub plus another of around 3lb plus. Not a bad little session. I did notice a couple of good sized Perch following two of the small Dace I had caught, so my next visit here will include a few juicy lobworms, or maybe I’ll trot a live Minnow. The only down side of this session is that the elusive Barbel are still hiding from us. Maybe next week.

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The Last Week (2)

My final session on the river prior to the close season was a pleasant 4 hours trotting a small wire Avon float a rod length out and down under an overhanging tree. Again I was on the Dorset Stour on the Stour Valley LNR near to New Road.

Trotting Swim on the Dorset Stour

Trotting Swim on the Dorset Stour

A constant trickle of maggots on the trotting line (6 or so a cast) soon got the Dace going well though I will admit to being also plagued with Minnows, about 30 of the little pests. I normally aim for the larger fish nowadays, but I readily admit to thoroughly enjoying the experience of hitting the small silvers again. It did however seem strange to use a hook I could barely see (Size 16) and line almost too thin for me to tie!!!

I also had three Perch when the float and bait managed to get deep under the tree before being snaffled by the minnows and silvers. Largest was not much more than 10 oz or so but gave a good scrap and they were all beautifully matked and proud fish.

Dorset Stour Perch

Dorset Stour Perch

The only other catch of note for me was a deep bellied Chub of about 2½-3 lb that took a single red after the float was held back at the end of a trot.

Chub of about 2.5-3 lb

Chub of about 2.5-3 lb

I was accompanied on the trip by Phil who took control of the swim immediately upstream from me. He was unfortunate in that he had a Pike of around 3ft in length snaffle a Minnow that had taken his bait. He very nearly landed the Pike though but the brute swam away after a couple of attempts at netting. Phil modified his tackle to a wired / hair-rig live bait set up and did manage to land a smaller Jack later on in the day. His first Pike but only a slight consolation after losing the biggun.

So that’s the river fishing over for  3 months. Back to the sea and ‘Bring on the Lakes’.

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A Short Lobbing

Yesterday morning saw me turning over a section of a customer’s vegetable plot ready for feeding and grading. And there, all around my feet were a good number of lobworms. No surprise really, but it got me thinking. I haven’t used lobs in a long time, which is a bit like saying I go Bass fishing but hardly ever use Sand Eels. Daft really.

So yesterday afternoon saw me chuck a rod and reel in the back of the car and drive down to the Stour Valley Nature Reserve at Northbourne for a quick 2½ hour session. Armed with a basic leger setup with size 8 wide gape hooks, a stool, net and a box of lobs, I was aiming for basically anything that came along, but specifically Perch and Chub.

On arrival, and following Sunday’s wet weather, the river was a good 2 ft up with a strong debris filled flow out to mid water. No problem here as there is plenty of overhangs in the water producing some very enticing pools. I split my fishing time between three likely looking swims and though I only managed three small Roach, I had a very pleasant short session.

On reeling in my last cast prior to going home, I had a good sized Pike chase and grab a large lob and promptly bite the hook link off. No way I was going to play and land that fella, but a bit of excitement nonetheless.

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