Friday, November 15, 2013

Its Like Waiting On Buses...

The Barrow was calling, I had to get back to the river. My long summer malaise had been broken by the events of Friday (see the previous post). My mind raced as I poured over maps of the river examining swims, hidden lane ways, access points and photos from last season. It looked like something out of CSI Miami. I laughed to myself, yes there was a serious predator at large!
I was stuck in the salt mine all weekend but Monday was looking good, the weather pattern was holding nicely and the river should have fined down another little bit. I made some traces and grabbed a couple of Archie's finest (WaterWolf) scud floats and was ready to rock n'roll....
A distinct nip in the air and a touch of ground frost caught my attention as I left the house, it was ball breaking cold, I glanced the temperature in the dash, 1.3 deg. I was frozen. I threw on the blower and pushed on to the river.
As I headed to the swim the sun finally decided to make a guest appearance, it forced its way through the cold morning haze, things were starting to warm up.
A very small fish was the fist to trip the alarms, he came to the bank quickly and was dispatched back to the margin.

First fish of the day.
It was only about twenty minutes later when another jack nailed a dead bait in the exact same spot, he made a short lived charge up the middle of the river before making a cameo appearence for the blog and then headed straight back to his watery lair. A little bigger than the first fish but not by much, the jacks were queing up for the early morning feed and  I was glad of the action. I wondered if this was a feeding spell I'd happened to hit upon or just a coincidence. Would it bring any bigger fish on the feed.

Another eager Barrow jack comes to the bank.
As I watched the water, a wooden pallet and football floated by... anything is liable to float past you on the Barrow. I once saw a partially submerged old tube television go by, obviously it was not plugged in and I know of a 3 peice sofa too, its wedged up against a undercut bank, red in colour if my memory serves me right. Is it any wonder they threw it out...
Blip blip blip..... a tripped alarm pulled my gaze from the bobbing football. Then the line tore off the reel. Usain Bolt was in town! This was a more powerful fish, it kept its head down and pushed upstream, charging for its goal. I upped the drag and held my breath... Two runs and a damaged net later a most incredibly marked Barrow Pike came to the net. Not the biggest fish in the world but fit, wild and atheltic with a super paint job! It looked like somebody had just pimped my Pike.

A well marked Barrow Pike.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fasten Your Seatbelts....

Summer! Where did the summer go? more about that later, right now I think we should cut to the chase.....
In reality to start piking in October this year would have been car crash material. The river was ridiculously low due to a serious lack rain and still full of summer growth from the unseasonably mild weather. I must admit that I'm not one for farting about with lures up to my neck in nettles trying to tempt lazy sunbathing Pike. I much prefer my piking cold and calculated (literally). So finally the rain came, a fortnights worth... in a week. It lashed like never before, I held my breath as the river shot up and the mercury dropped.
Phones started chirping across the mobile networks as a few of the usual suspects and myself texted covert daily reports on the state of the river, after a few days, the overall concensus was It was time, "The Boys Were Back In Town"

After much sorting of tackle and cobweb blowing we arrived at the river on Friday morning with more gear than a subterranean terrorist cell. To say we were ready for the "first" day of the winter season was an understatement. Alan "Burkie" Burke fished downstream. The junior Piker and myself fished a slack above him. Things were quite, very quiet. An opening day anti climax I thought to myself. Then my phone rang..."A NET.... I NEED A BIGGER NET" Burkie screamed down the phone so loud he needn't have bothered ringing. The junior piker legged it down the bank.
I waited for news, then waited some more... it was uncanny to say the least. I missed a run and then my phone rang, it was Burkie breathless but happy. As it happened he put the bait in the swim and was hit immediately, he couldn't reach the net. After a major power struggle on a tricky piece bank himself and the junior piker landed a really decent double. Its fair to say, on our first day out since last spring the Biker Piker nailed a WHOPPER and was he nowhere near Burger King. But there was more to come...

Burkies Whopper!
With a double already accounted for we fished on, enthusiasm and confidence had been intravenously pumped into our systems. Even though we were on a high things remained quiet our prey had gone to ground, we fished on ever optimistic. I searched the river and finally decided to settle down once I hit my fifth swim. Some time later my rod gave a gentle knock,  the alarm barely croaked a couple of sedate blips, I squinted at the rod tip through the cold sunshine. Hmmm maybe, maybe not... I struck and was well in, not such a big fish but still this bad boy got 10 out of 10 as he cleared the surface and tail walked across the water. We were gobsmacked.

The River Barrow Piker and the tail walking Pike.
We saw no more fish that day but what a great start to the new season on the Barrow. I went back to the river on Monday and met another three fish. That story and others will be posted here in a day or two. I headed home for a cuppa thinking along the way, Philo said it well when he said "The boys are back in town"...