I went back down to the RMC yesterday morning for my first Pike session of the 2023/24 winter. I blanked, although have plenty of excuses should they be required, but the bottom line is that my tactics weren't good enough on the day. A superb morning, with some reasonable birding to keep me amused whilst the alarms remained silent. The session was topped off by Chrissy and Mo turning up for the regulation banter and piss taking, plus a Baker's Meaty Meal, or twenty! The canal has provided me with some outstanding Pike fishing since Benno and I first visited way back in the winter of 2011/12. Over the years, we have explored the fishery from Seabrook to Iden Lock and so, so, many locations in between. That's a lot of canal. The biggest lesson we've learned is that the Pike fishing is better the further away from access points you travel This where Google Maps plays a massive role in my Pike fishing. I am able to do an awful lot of prep work, sat at my laptop, which allows me to make educated decisions on where to fish without the requirement to actually do the miles of hard graft checking out the various sections It's not without flaws, yet certainly is a great asset when seeking new opportunities.
|My very first RMC "twenty" taken near West Hythe Dam
|Benno's first RMC "twenty" from Iden Lock (East Sussex ) and probably twenty miles away
from where I made my first capture. That's an awful lot of water to explore.
Wild Pike which reach the weight of twenty plus pounds are rare creatures today. Each, and every, one will have a wondrous tale to tell, if only they could. The RMC still contains a very healthy population of these niche predators, but they seem to peak at around twenty - two pounds, give or take. That there are a small number of Pike which have managed to push through this glass ceiling and attain weights in the region of thirty pounds is what keeps me motivated to undertake the long drive, followed by a long hike with the barrow, to seek an encounter with such a creature. I've seen photos of two such fish, one captured over a decade ago, the other was in March 2023 and on a stretch I was actually fishing at the time. I haven't got tunnel vision, another serious campaign isn't on the cards at present. I am simply going to keep an eye on the weather and pick my sessions accordingly.
|Wild Pike, from wild places.
As long as I'm able to undertake such arduous exercise, these magnificent fish
will continue to play a part in the annual angling cycle.
The canal offers everything I could wish for in my Pike angling today. Remote sections, which require more effort, than the vast majority of modern anglers are willing to undertake, to reach. The only other folk I am likely to encounter are just as serious about their hobbies as I am mine. As a side show, the random conversations I've experienced, with complete strangers, have been an aspect of the fishing journey which has become ever more important as I grow older. I really don't think that achieving my target will actually see me draw a line under my RMC adventure? It's quite simply one of the nicest places I've ever fished, and that speaks volumes about the place and people.
|Another RMC dawn - "what will today bring?"