As no-one has been blessed with a "crystal ball", in which to see the future unfold, plans for any projects have to be very fluid. It is with this at the forefront of my thinking that I have started to put a few targets into the mix for this coming Winter Pike fishing campaign. With time availability no longer a consideration, in as much as I don't have work commitments to deal with, I am able to commit to three sessions a week, at least, but could manage seven if I felt that conditions were perfect? Absolutely no chance of me returning to the "time bandit" mentality of the, bivvy bound, camping, carp anglers. Sessions rarely exceed six hours, eight would be exceptional. No, my (Pike) angling is now all about the use of watercraft/experience over the bait and wait, time wasting, option. Under no circumstances am I attempting to criticise the approach of fellow anglers who choose to pursue this fascinating hobby in a very different way. So long as enjoyment remains the key, the manner in which they do so is entirely a decision for those individuals involved.
|You don't watch dawns like this asleep in a bivvy!|
I started to think about what I would like from this 2021/22 Pike season after attending an informal gathering of The Canterbury & Thanet PAC on 4th October. Spending a couple of hours, chatting about this and that, with other anglers who share a common respect for the apex predator of our freshwater environments. I came away with renewed enthusiasm for the coming Winter and began to set myself some arbitrary targets. They will have to remain as such because who knows what effect Covid-19 will have upon our personal freedoms as the year progresses? Certainly infection rates and deaths are showing a depressingly familiar trend as we approach the colder months.
|Bread & butter out on the flatlands|
So these ideas that follow are not set in stone but, being more akin to a wish list, will help to keep me enthused and focussed as the season evolves. My first hope is to land three fish in excess of twenty pounds, something I've not managed since the 1986/7 season when I took two from Wilstone and one from the mighty R. Thames. This will be the most testing aspect of my fishing campaign purely because of my choice of venues. Difficult yes, but certainly not impossible. The next idea is simply a follow on from the campaign I'd enjoyed last season which was curtailed by travel restrictions and lockdown just as I was getting to grips with the section of canal I'd chosen. Twenty doubles in five and a half months should be attainable, even more so as retirement allows me a flexibility that wasn't available in previous years. My third challenge is to land one hundred Pike during the course of this season. I was inspired to attempt this quest when reading a really nice article by a guy, recovering from a stroke, who used pike fishing as motivation to push himself forward both physically and mentally. I would think that this particular target will be the easiest to reach as I'm already on ten!
|A magnificently marked wild Pike|
Now I'm sure that there are Pike anglers out there who will wonder what all the fuss is about, particularly those who use lures and/or live baiting techniques. As with all my angling projects, I have to do things my way or not at all. As a devoted dead bait angler, all, some or none of my targets will be achieved because of my total faith in this style of Pike fishing. I have plenty of tricks and tweaks in my locker which ensure I remain confident of success. Nothing is too much trouble, if something's not right, I change it. Mobility is key, sitting behind static rods and static dead baits does nothing for me. I remain convinced that "big" Pike are lazy creatures, thus always on the look out for an easy meal. Biologically they seek maximum reward for minimum effort, therefore, my bait choices and presentations are set up to offer just such a scenario. If I'm struggling for bites I'll use the leapfrogging technique. By doing so I feel sure that I can, eventually, place a bait in a position where my quarry will accept the offering without expending unnecessary energy searching it out. If they won't come to me, then I'll happily go to them!
|Three more like this please. Oh, and one on a centrepin would be nice!|
At present I'm fishing a new, to me, section of the RMC which appears to have all the features I associate with good Pike territory, but have only taken three fish in five trips. I am prepared to stick at it for a good while as I can always return to those more familiar sections should I get desperate for a bent rod adrenaline fix. From Seabrooke to Iden Lock, I've experienced some very enjoyable sessions after the wild Pike that inhabit this historic waterway and hope that it continues for a good while yet.