There are just fifty-one days remaining until the close of the "traditional" coarse fishing season and with it, the end of my 2021/22 Pike challenge. All being well, I expect to get in another twenty-one sessions before the curtain falls on this particular campaign and my sights alter focus in search of other species. Resting against a bookcase, in my study, are three rods which I have only used once since our last trip up to Loch Awe in 2019. They are a Tri-Cast 13' 2.25 lbs t/c, a Bruce & Walker 13' 2.75 lbs t/c and a Bruce & Walker 12' 2.25 lbs t/c. All carbon fibre, manufactured in the mid 1980's, they remain very serviceable bits of angling hardware and a pleasure to use in the right situations.
As I had said in a previous post, my angling focus has moved some three-quarters of a mile along the RMC and has certainly proved to be a positive decision. However, between these two points, there is a section of the canal that contains some rather substantial snags which certainly have the potential to hold Pike. As fantastic as my Duncan Kay 1lb 10oz t/c rods are, using them in this type of situation isn't particularly wise. If fish welfare is important, then I need to use gear which will cope under these specific conditions. Whilst I readily admit that these alternative rods are nowhere as much fun to play fish on, what they lack in finesse, they more than compensate with the brute force required for keeping hard fighting Pike away from the underwater obstructions, once hooked. I've made the decision to spend the next three sessions, so to the month's end, targeting these snags just to see if I've overlooked an opportunity?
There is one other avenue of exploration which I feel needs some attention in the run up to the finish of my project. Up until now, all of my sessions have been conducted from pre-dawn to mid-day (maximum) and a very successful approach it has proven to be. However, because of a chance conversation with a guy, whom I regularly see out on the bank, the possibility of a late afternoon, into darkness, feeding spell has come into my thinking. Obviously there is only one way to check out the hypothesis and I've already made plans for a session, next week. One session isn't ever going to be enough to make serious judgement upon the possibilities, but it will be a start. I well recall the "problem" caused by night feeding Pike during my winter Eel campaign of 2015/16, so the concept isn't something new.
|Not what you want whilst deliberately targeting Eels!|
I've not fished into dark for a while and recognise that, at this time of year, it will pose some specific issues should I have to deal with a decent Pike when the light has gone. Head torch(es) and spare batteries will be essential items, as will a supply of extra layers. As for trophy shots? I'm already thinking along the lines of getting the camera gear set up in the daylight and then covering it with a padded bag to stop condensation from forming on the lens. Whatever the outcome, it will be good to push the boundaries of my experience with the inhabitants of the canal. Always learning; because the day I think I know it all will be the day when I pack it up!