Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lures beat the baiters

Second chuck, BANG. Not the biggest pike I've ever caught, but catching one's still a good way to start the morning.

Two or three casts later, I briefly hook a bigger one which slack lines me and comes off as it turns away in a swirl. Maybe they're up for it then, I tell myself.

I move swims and catch a couple more around the same size. I text Rob to tell him it might be worth popping down for an hour if he's working nearby - got a spare rod if you fancy a go on lures.

Already on my way mate,  comes the reply - got my bait rods in the van. Rob fancies the bit I'm fishing so I move further up after a banter and watch him sling baits up and down the bit the fish came from. Two or three casts to get the depth right and I nail another jack. Ten minutes later, what looks like a bigger fish follows and turns away at the end of the retrieve.

I decide to rest it for a bit and give it a go with a different lure to the Smuttley which has been doing the damage. Territorial males might lash out at anything that zig-zags past their noses, but a bigger, wiser fish might fancy something a bit more natch.

Along comes Rodders. Alright Rob, alright Bisho - what you boys doing down here. Half an hour later there are a few more floats dotted around in front of us.

I give it a go in the spot up the bank and after a couple of casts, the lure's veering off hard to the right. The drain's running off. The drain runs off harder and harder, the level dropping 18ins or so over the rest of an enjoyable afternoon chewing the fat about old times.

The flow's tough to manage with a bait rod - even with a big polyball or shark float, rods up high to keep the line off the water. When Rob gets a pull, the strike's masked by the weed which has collected around the line and it comes adrift.

I like the look of the rigs they're using, especially Rodders's titanium traces. He knocks one up to show how easy they are to make.

"I'm totally confident in 'em now," he says. "Had one last two seasons buh."

The wire might last forever, but trebles don't. So he uses split rings to attach the hooks, meaning he can change them when they're shot. Genius.

Rodders keeps telling us the water fishes well when it's running off. As it runs off harder and the surface starts to boil and crease, he admits maybe not this hard.

A mink scampers along the far bank. Two more swim across, while shortly afterwards, yet another appears down the near side.

I wonder if that's why we haven't seen any prey fish, in a spot which almost always used to hold a shoal of silvers, who'd be dimpling on the top by late afternoon.

Then Ash arrives. Hello boys, what you doing here..? Catching, I say. On lures.

After watching three very good pike anglers blank all afternoon, I have an idea driving home. I wonder what would happen if I left the bait rods at home for a season, invested in some decent lure kit, and actually stuck with it.

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