Friday, November 18, 2011

Confidence is a funny thing in pike fishing

Confidence is a funny old thing when it comes to  pike fishing. Sometimes, you work harder when you think you're going to catch one any minute. Maybe the anticipation spurs you on.

Other days, you put more effort in when you know it's going to be hard, because deep down you know if you don't put the work in, it ain't going to happen, no siree Bob.

The other week, I was full of vim on a rare trip to a large stillwater I used to fish a lot with TC, Chippy Bob and one or two other characters. One of my favourite swims clearly hadn't been fished, if the ankle-deep grass was anything to go by.

I put two legered deads out, one along a line of trees; one tight to an island. As we finished off the last of an ample fry-up, I looked at the rods and just knew they weren't quite right, as I wiped the last of the tomato sauce off me strides and wished I'd brung more bread rolls.

I knew I wasn't going to get a pull on either of them, even though I couldn't quite put my finger on why. They were tightened up a treat, nice baits, sharp hooks. They just had blank written all over them.

Looking across  the lake, I remembered a bar which I can just about hit with a float-legered bait when the wind's right.

Off your back, the cast is a breeze and the braid bows nicely to just pull a float to half-cocked against a lightly-weighted trace in eight or nine feet of water.

Five minutes later, I landed a mackerel tail right on the money. Don't ask me why, I just knew I'd catch one there.

And I was right, for once. The float didn't even settle. As I tightened down I felt a bump, gave it a couple of feet of slack and pulled into a cracking double that turned out to be the only fish of the day, apart from a jack to TC.

I couldn't get another bait back out fast enough after I unhooked it. I reeled one of the leger rods in and re-cast it onto the near slope of the bar upwind of the float rod. Both fouled thick weed as I tightened up, so I wound them in and slung them back out into yet more more thick weed.

I messed around with trying to pop the baits up just above the weed. I tried casting around to find a clear area and twitching back a bouyant pollan on a long link.

In the end, I dropped the baits under the rod tops and sat well back from the bank - just in case there was a kerb crawler or two doing the rounds. I was sure I'd catch another, until the greylags started squealing overhead and I adjourned to licensed premises to toast the season's second double.

Funny thing, confidence.

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