Pike on the River Test

Improve Your Coarse Fishing (UK) - - Carl & Alex -

Alex – Carl and I haven’t strug­gled with our pike fish­ing this year. We have been catch­ing plenty, just noth­ing large. As win­ter came to a close we re­ally felt the need to put in a few more ses­sions to tar­get a big pike. A cou­ple of days were spent on our lo­cal river, only manag­ing one twitchy bite on a mack­erel dead­bait, and a num­ber of blank ses­sions fol­lowed else­where. We re­ally needed some­where we could be hope­ful of a bite from a big pike. This was when we re­mem­bered an of­fer from a river keeper called Nick on the River Test who in­vited us to the venue for a day’s pike fish­ing. We got in touch with him, sorted out a day and the ses­sion quickly crept up on us. This was a very spe­cial op­por­tu­nity. The day be­fore, Carl and I had sat in our shed, rig­ging up our rods, ty­ing a load of spare traces and then got an early night so we could get to the Test just be­fore first light. Nor­mally when we go on a fish­ing ses­sion we take our video cam­eras along and try to film a video for our YouTube chan­nel, but on very spe­cial oc­ca­sions like this where it is vi­tal that we make the most of ev­ery minute on the bank, we couldn’t waste any time film­ing. Ar­riv­ing at the river at 6am, it was just light enough to see our way along the river bank. It was a beau­ti­ful stretch with grassy banks, clear

wa­ter and hope­fully some big pike swim­ming around. Heaven! Carl and I opted to start by try­ing two dif­fer­ent tac­tics – twitched dead­bait and float fished dead­bait. Twitch­ing a dead­bait is ef­fec­tively lure fish­ing where it’s a sim­ple case of cast­ing out the bait and let­ting it sink a lit­tle be­fore twitch­ing it back slowly to the bank. Float fish­ing is a more op­er­a­tion and if the pike aren’t in the mood for chas­ing a bait, then float fish­ing can be the per­fect tac­tic to use. We de­cided it would be a good idea to walk the length of the stretch and try to cover as much wa­ter as pos­si­ble. All was quiet un­til I reached some slightly deeper, slacker wa­ter. I was slowly reel­ing in the dead­bait when I felt a tap. I opened the bail-arm and line was be­ing quickly pulled out. I waited another five sec­onds so the pike would hope­fully have the bait right in­side its mouth. When I set the hooks I was greeted by a heavy weight slowly swim­ming up the river. My legs were shak­ing and my heart rac­ing. I was ex­tremely ex­cited at the same time as be­ing re­ally scared! I didn’t want to lose it so I shouted to Carl, who had the net. He came run­ning over and, as he ar­rived, the pike, which looked like a mon­ster, rose up in the wa­ter and I guided it over the net cord! It cer­tainly wasn’t a mon­ster for the River Test but at 15lb it was my sec­ond big­gest pike. What a buzz that fish gave me! Af­ter get­ting some ac­tion on a twitched dead­bait, Carl chose to do the same and stay mo­bile, con­stantly cast­ing out, cov­er­ing loads of wa­ter. It soon paid off af­ter he made a short cast to where a small stream joined the main river and the pike that was sat down there swooped out and snatched the bait. This fish gave a good ac­count of it­self but we got it safely in our net. It was just into dou­ble fig­ures, another pike which was larger than most of the fish we had caught this ses­sion so far. There was no more ac­tion un­til around mid­day, when we both man­aged a cou­ple of smaller pike from the same bit of slack wa­ter just down from a weir. Both of them had ex­tremely dark, vivid colours that the pike on our lo­cal lakes where the wa­ter is murky, don’t have. Even though they were small, they were very spe­cial fish! The fish­ing then went quiet again, but just be­fore dark I went on one last walk of the stretch with a lure rod. Luck­ily I bagged one fi­nal pike, this one be­ing the small­est of the day at around 4lb. It was an odd day, where the size of fish de­creased through­out the ses­sion, nor­mally it’s the other way round. We were both su­per happy to have fi­nally caught a cou­ple of bet­ter sized pike. Un­til next au­tumn I don’t think we will be do­ing much pike fish­ing, but there’s a chance we might do the odd ses­sion fly fish­ing for them on some of the large reser­voirs such as Rut­land and Chew this spring and sum­mer.

Alex’s 15lb River Test pike was his sec­ond big­gest ever

Alex twitched his dead­bait to tempt this River Test spec­i­men

Both Carl and Alex roved and fished plenty of Test swims

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