Break out the deadbaits we're off again...

Back on dry land after our session afloat, this week we're heading back to Rib Valley.

It's always a comfortable place to fish, and you're always in with the chance of a decent fish. Just to confirm that, we hear that one of our fellow Osprey members has banked a 19lb+ pike only days before.

We're there at 6am, the venues opening time, and soon have the gear loaded on the barrows before we head off down the bank.

We head toward our favourite swims, but we stop a little way before them as Gary fancies trying a slightly different spot. He recalls how on our last visit we saw some lads catch a couple of fish from this swim, so he wants to give it a go. 

I've got no problems with that, in fact I move just beyond him and still have access to the area of water where our friend had the 19... perhaps it's had a couple of good dinners since then, and might be pushing the 20lb mark now!

We're using a variety of deadbaits, mackerel (of course!), roach, lamprey and trout, all fished on straight legers, with running leads.

I used to be very worried about this style of piking, as sometimes bite registration could be a bit hit or miss with normal alarms, but now Gary and myself are both using backbiter alarms, and whatever direction the pike runs you get perfect, and instant indication.

Once the baits were out, we followed the normal routine... you know, broke out the kettle and got the tea brewing! You can't enjoy a serious days fishing without a regular supply of tea... well as serious as Gary and myself can get anyway!

Not a bad start, this one went 17lb+

Not a bad start, this one went 17lb+

It can't have been more than an hour gone by and he's in, in fact the whole days excitement can be broken down into two fairly distinct feeding sessions, morning and late afternoon.

As Gary plays in the first catch of the day it starts to put a good bend in his rod, and takes him a couple minutes to get under control, before I offer my netting services and bring the fish to the unhooking mat. It looks a good fish, and goes 17lb 6ozs on the scales, nice start mate.

But the morning drifts by without any more takes, and even with us moving the baits to search out the fish, we can't tempt a take. Tea is taken at regular intervals!

So we're well into the afternoon before there's a tug on one of Gary's lines. He tightens up and feels a fish, he strikes, but it drops the bait. He reels in to find a punctured bait, but doesn't waste any time in getting it back out in the same spot.

We then have an interesting last hour, with Gary having his same bait picked up again, but there's still no run, so it stays where it is.

Then I finally join the party, with a lovely slow dropback. First a couple of inches, then the full way down, but once I've tightened the line, feel a good tug, it all goes slack... I've got a feeling it's not going to be my day!

Yes you can smile... Gary's second of the day

Yes you can smile... Gary's second of the day

And to prove a point, a little while later, one of Gary's other rods rips off and he plays, and lands another reasonable double, this one going 12lb 2oz. Well at least he has to make the tea!

So that's all the action we had, sitting 20yards apart with our rods fanned out all around us... and all the action happens on his side... I'm not jealous, no, honestly I'm not...