Monday, 13 December 2010
A Lucky 13th
Does it ever get too cold to catch pike? In the Westcountry at least, I'm beginning to suspect the answer is a big fat no. It began as a day of bleak weather and fairly slim expectations for a crack at the Somerset Levels with Seb Nowosiad- but to our delight, the pessimism was misplaced. After a painfully slow start fishing between ice patches on the Bridgwater-Taunton Canal, we took a bit of a mystery tour to locate some more likely and less ice-covered water in the heart of the Levels.
A sound move as it turned out- sick of watching a motionless float, I switched to the fly rod and quickly received a pulverising bite. And it was no flash in the pan either. In spite of the freezing fog and -3C temperature, the fish seemed to be feeding well. Indeed, the next jack even coughed up a little roach as evidence! The pike responded best to bright patterns however-in particular those with weighted heads which I could present just off the bottom.
But what of the deadbaiting? Well, Seb got quality rather than quantity here, just one bite but a terrific, beautifully conditioned pike of 16lbs 4oz for sticking at it. A suspended smelt did the trick gently drifted under a float, a very underrated method on so much of the Levels.
I'm starting to think the text book should be thrown away entirely for winter piking. The fish took fly patterns and lures with gusto on our sub zero adventure today, and far from being sleepy in the cold they all fought excellently well on light tackle. Seb eventually switched to lures to catch another three jacks and by the end of play we had a dozen pike between us. By around three we'd had our fill- it had got to the balmy heaights of 0.5C and still so foggy it looked more like seven in the morning. Worth every chilly minute though.