Christmas eve; a day of last minute present buying, endless queues in the supermarket and tensions between people running high. With presents to wrap, food to prepare and people to visit it can be a stressful time. Thats exactly why I try to get as far away from the hustle and bustle as possible. A spot of fishing pre-Christmas day does wonders with the anxiety levels and with some new small rubber jigs to try out, I headed for a club water with a good head of small pike. My initial plan was to try the canal for perch but I was sure that there would be plenty of dog walkers with a similar idea to mine. Getting away from the ‘elephant in the room’ that is Christmas preparation.
As with most angling balancing tackle for the size and species you are hoping to catch will give you maximum enjoyment. I wasn’t expecting anything over a few pounds today so the light lure rod I use for perch fishing would be more than adequate. A selection of small rubber shads and light jig heads would allow a steady retrieve without constantly catching the weed and detritus in what is a fairly shallow venue. In fact the only difference between the set up for perch fishing was the addition of a light wire trace. I arrived just after noon and decided to eat some food and enjoy a drink before starting fishing. I was drenched in hazy sunshine but a strong wind cut across the water. I was well wrapped up though so the cold didn’t get to me. This is what its all about. Tranquility and a little solitude. Apart from the finches and robins. And swans. Oh, the sheep too and, just as I was finishing my brew, an old lady walking her dog. We exchanged pleasantries. Turns out she was getting out of the house for an hour; ‘if she saw another present to be wrapped it would be too soon.’ With that she walked off and I had a few casts in a tight, overgrown swim.
A tiny pike was fooled into taking the lure on the third or fourth cast. The fish bolted out from the marginal weed and in the clear water it was a real treat to see. Ok, I’ve caught bigger chub than this little fellow, but on the light outfit he fought extremely well. What a wonderfully coloured example he was too. Onto the next swim and a few casts later I had my second fish of the day. A slightly bigger fish than the first and one which lead me a right merry dance, diving into weed, and trying its best to make it to the safety of a fallen tree.
With a few fish now caught a pattern began to emerge. Both in the where the fish seemed to be laying up and how they wanted the lure presented. Even though it was quite cold a fast retrieve produced much more positive takes, whilst a slower one, just follows. In the clear water it was wonderful to see all of this. It was also really useful to see how certain patterns of lure reacted to movements of the rod. All things I will remember for the future. On the day it was a bright white lure that performed better than any. Given the crystal clear water I was sure a more subdued pattern was the correct choice but the fish thought otherwise.
I ended the short session with ten small pike. All of the fish between 1-4lb, miniature versions of this apex predator, and provided me with a welcome few hours escape. No monsters were ever on the cards but that didn’t matter. It was active fishing and full of exploration. A million miles away from turkeys and baubles even though I had caught a few crackers.
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Until Next time tight lines