Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Father and Son.

The weather was just about holding, the river was still pretty low and clear. There was one problem, I was getting earache from the junior piker. To say he was bursting to go down the river was an understatement. It was a triumph. The river, fishing and the chance of an Esox had won over X-box, Instagram and Youtube. Yes, my twelve year old son had seen the light, he realised that its hard to beat a good old fashioned adventure down the river; even if it is with your father... I took my cue (well rods actually) and we were off down the Barrow track.

He was eager, he'd seen the fish I'd caught over the previous days and wanted a slice of the action. Taking last week into account and the fickle nature of the Barrow pike, I decided to take no chances, we packed lures and a selection of deadbaits. Everything but the kitchen sink - no doubt you know the routine! We finally made it to our first swim. My strategy was to fine comb the whole swim with the lures, maybe we could root out a couple of "smash an' grab" opportunist pike and if they didn't fancy lure chasing we'd sit behind the deadbaits and wait it out! The lures caught the morning light as they flew through the air, they hit the water, we were on the hunt. As is often the way with lure fishing things can happen very quickly. There was a large flash in the water as a very decent double missed the junior pikers lure on the first retrieve, he covered the fish again but she was not tempted. A short while after another fish gave me such a hard follow it almost ended up on the bank when both it and the lure ran out of water at the margin. It sat there for a moment perplexed as to where its prey had suddenly vanished to. I looked at the fish and the fish looked at me, I moved to cover it again but was seen, it bolted for the depths. One jack was not so lucky, he came to the bank and was quickly returned. Then, as they do, they switched off...

Things went very quiet, no takes, nips or follows. Had we spooked them with our presence, I figured it was time for a brew and  some covert operations. We started changing the rigs, it was back to the ledger set up, we were going hard on the bottom. The siege had begun.

Is it my imagination or does it usually happen when your about forty minutes in? Perhaps it takes your average pike this kind of time frame to pick up a scent trail or to find what's on offer. I often have visions of the Barrow pike sitting beside a deadbait weighing  up the odds. Anyway that famous forty minutes in and the junior pikers rod decided to take a BLEEP.  Eyebrows raised - we waited. Eventually after what seemed like a pikers eternity a casual but continuous string of blips sounded from the alarm. The fish was starting to move off, he tightened down hard  but she didn't budge. The stalemate remained for quite some time. A twelve year old boy and what I reckoned to be a twelve year old fish - I thought this could get nasty! It was time for her to exercise her authority, she made the first move. A hard powerful run upstream, the boy was at the mercy of the fish, all he could was keep the rod tip out, follow her along the bank and keep the pressure on as she ripped the line through the water. An epic power struggle was underway. For every few feet of line he put back on the reel she took it back as quick and we still hadn't even seen her. In the back of my mind I knew well that the junior had a serious PB on his hands if he could bring her to the net. Eventually she tired, put her head up and we slid the net under her. The junior piker was in awe, a true mammoth Barrow Pike and an obliterated previous PB!

A Barrow 20 +
A couple of photos later and she was on her way back to her watery hideout. We fished for the rest of the day, did we see another fish? No, not as much as a run. Did we care? No!
Father and Son - what an experience - what a team. BTW here's the vid !

Friday, February 13, 2015

Shovel Face & Baldy, on a Roll.

Ok ! So the blog posts have been a bit sparse of late. Excuses, I have none really but in reality the river wasn't calling me, I walked the tow paths regularly, Christmas came and went but all the time the river just looked cold and uninviting, maybe it was a bit high, a bit coloured, a bit fast, a bit slow - a bit whatever, I dunno. On top of that to put it mildly the weather was crap. Hey maybe is was post Christmas or "January Blues" But I don't think so!

Pea Soup @ Leighlinbridge
So roll on to about ten days ago, that nice dry spell and a touch of frost had kicked in. I was watching the river like a hawk, for the first time in a long time the Barrow was calling - in fact, it was roaring at me, begging to be fished. It was dropping and the water clarity increasing by the day. I ran through my gear, big lures and bigger dead baits were the order of the day. I reckoned the Barrow Pike were on the move. It was time to get my arse in gear.

A Barrow lure chaser.

A Barrow Jack - Lure addiction

And what a rollercoaster ride its been for the last week or so. I've had monsters follow my lures - rods pulled clean out of the bank sticks - a string of doubles to the bank and as many lost (hate a missed run) and all the while the the Barrow Jacks kept the matinee entertainment going in full technicolour. Yes, its true to say that the Barrow can be an absolute ball breaker but if you can drag yourself away from the television and social media you're in with a chance of meeting one of these great wild prehistoric beasts. The apex predator.
Its great! I've just fallin' in love with the Barrow all over again and its not even Valentines day yet.

A high double Barrow warrior, hard on the bottom.
High double to a SG lure,  BTW Always check your camera lens for condensation! Obviously I didn't...
Another Lure Addict

Fatty - BOOM - Batty hard on the bottom

Take two!

Shovel face & Baldy ;) I love em' really!

Ok.... so here's the Video, till the next time Keep it wet an' Keep it real. C & R all the way!