Thursday, 9 February 2012

Plumbing the depths - a river pike trip

The weather remains bitterly cold. However, the forecast is actually for the weather to get worse with snow tomorrow which will stick around as temperatures remain below freezing well into next week. When that does melt, it will then be another 3-5 days before fishing is very feasible. But today might have been ok. The snow melt from the weekend might have cleared, and the chub might be used to the cold.

But instead I decided that I would have a few hours on the river doing some pike fishing. It is years since I fished for pike. But my thinking was actually coloured by the idea that I could use the river float tackle to also do some plumbing of a wide range of swims. So it was really pike fishing with chub in mind.

When I got to the stretch of the Thames I was planning to plumb, there was one angler already fishing. He had just lost a decent chub and was switching over to ledgering from float fishing. That suggested I might have been better off chub fishing. But the aim was to gather valuable intelligence for the battles ahead and so for the next three hours I searched around a dozen swims with deadbaits and then, as I was ready to switch swims, I had a quick plumb around the swim.

What I generally found was that the river was deeper in a number of places than I had thought - around the 5 foot plus level, rather than 3-4 foot that I had thought. I paid particular attention to two swims at the end of the stretch which I plan to fish seriously for a monster chub before the seasons end. As I suspected, these are slightly deeper swims, nearer 7-8 foot deep and look very promising.

And I even caught one pike, though it was possibly the smallest I have caught since two pike of 15oz each which I caught from the River Leam and Esthwaite Water back in the 1980s. My guess is that it would have struggled to break 1-08. It took a float fished smelt as I was winding in slowly down the right bank margin. This week, a 32lb pike was caught in Esthwaite. Could that have been the one I caught years ago? Not sure how long pike live, but it probably isn't 30 years!

I wonder if I could sneak a chub trip in tomorrow before the snow hits?

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