The last few weeks we've been fishing for pike at an awesome venue, in fact mention the name Landridge to most anglers around where I fish, and even further afield thinking about it, and usually a worried look appears on their faces. Holding some fantastic fish, and I'm talking about huge carp, tench, bream.. and pike, it sounds perfect, but at about 120 acres this massive gravel pit can be a daunting place to fish!
So as the weather turned cooler about 3 weeks ago Gary and myself decided to give it a go.
With a 3 rod limit on this water, both of us fan out the rods to cover as much water as possible. We're using a variety of baits including mackerel tails, herring, roach, and lamprey.
Our rigs are standard float leger set-ups. Saying that Gary does set up one of his rods paternoster style, and he must know something, as within minutes it gets him a run. After a reasonable fight, it's in the net, and soon on the scales, and it goes 15lb 1oz, what a great start to the day.
I have to wait a while before joining in the fun, and when I finally get a take, it slips the hooks as I bring it in! And just to rub it in, it's not long after that Gary gets another take and lands a 5-6lb jack.. Gary 2, me 0.
It all goes quiet for a couple of hours, and after an early start I begin to feel my eyelids getting heavier... but this brief restbite is rudely disturbed by my buzzer bleeping madly! I jump up, and find my left hand rod-tip is pulling round, I play this one very carefully and finally land an 8lb'er.. thank goodness, it won't be a blank today.
I pop on another bait, cast out in the same area, and reset my indicator. It can't have been more than a few seconds and the same rod goes again. This time it's only a jack, but that does make it, Gary 2, me 2!
We don't have any more action that session, but with the water as calm as a millpond, and the sun gradually setting behind the distant trees, neither of us are complaining.
The following week…
Well, the weather this week couldn't have been more different. With heavy cloud, 20mph+ winds, and a real chill to the air... let alone the almost foot high waves that are crashing into our bank!
There's three of us out today, as Bob has joined us, and wouldn't you know it Gary does it again with another 15lb'er.. possibly being a repeat capture of last week's fish?
Over the session we end up with five pike, not bad in these adverse conditions, but the real story starts mid-afternoon when I get another run. It doesn't feel particularly big, and as I play it in, it slips the hook, a pain but that's piking.
So the afternoon rolls into dusk, and during that time I have another half dozen runs.. and I only convert one of them to a fish on the bank!
Gary's laughing his head off and calling me a 'noddy'.. and I'm starting to wonder if he's right!
The main thing we've learnt though, is that the fish are here.. I'll just have to wait till next week to see if I can pike fish properly or not!
Our 3rd visit...
Here we are again, a nice early start and back in the same swims.. in fact it's same bait, same places to put 'em. Well why change anything when it's working!
The rod rests are placed, buzzers screwed on, and the rods pulled from their holdals.. but then Gary produces a flask of coffee and we take a minute to.. well, just enjoy being on the bankside.
Coffee break over, and soon the baits are out, with me covering a deep trough and a steep incline, and Gary the trough, plus the entrance to a sluice. All set up, landing net out, unhooking mat, forceps and long-nosed pliers.. we're ready.
Again, we don't have long to wait, but this time it's my buzzer that starts beeping. My float has disappeared, the line tightens, and it's soon pulled out the clip on my indicator. I lift the rod, tighten down and strike, and there's a satisfying weight on the other end.. this ones not coming off!
I keep the tension in the rod, and slowly steer what now feels like a reasonable fish towards the bank, and Gary with the net. It's in, and it's looking good, onto the mat, turn it on its back and I carefully slip my fingers under the gill covers. As I lift, the mouth opens and the awesome set of 'biting' equipment comes into view.. Gary removes the hooks, and it's into the weigh-sling.. 18lb 14ozs!
It's a new PB for me, but more importantly, it's a well hooked fish.. perhaps I'm not as bad as I was feeling at the end of last week!
And this seems to be the case as through the day Gary and myself almost take turns in catching some great fish, with 5 doubles out of a 12 fish haul.. and we both have aborted runs too.
So what a day's fishing... the final tally, an 18.14, 15.01, 14.07, 14.02, 12.06, 9lb, and 6 jacks.
We're both pretty happy at the end of the session, except I'm just a little upset at how sore my fingers are.. as I don't use a glove to handle the pike, I've got those little nicks all over the ends of my fingers.. that must be why Gary seems always ready with the forceps.. oh well, at the end of the day I suppose we shouldn't catch so many fish.. especially the ones with loads of teeth!