Saturday, 17 August 2013

Last cast syndrome...well second to last...

I'm still grabbing my chances where i can at the minute, with the kids being off school I have to fit fishing in whenever it suits, often i can't plan too far ahead. So today, I was supposed to be taking the kids out with my mother for the day as we usually do when my Mrs is working. We had just remembered last night that my daughter was at a birthday party middle of the day which meant we didn't have time to go anywhere. I had hatched a plan to get some fishing in, while my mother took her to the party!

So I only had a couple of hours to fish after dinner so my mother dropped me off while she went to the kids party, it was a cooler day today but it felt promising. I was going to fish one of my little rivers with weedless frogs, there was weed about but in places you could still fish subsurface lures. However its only a shallow depth and not very wide so frogs usually do well anyway and its great fun.

I got off to a good start with multiple takes and i was doing a good job of winding down and striking into the pike. In previous years i have preferred a fixed spool set-up for frogging but this year Ive been using a more powerful bait casting outfit and i have to say, now Ive got used to frogging with it i can really get a powerful strike and more often than not Ive been setting the hooks. I'd say out of all the takes Ive had this year I'm certainly up on my ratio on how many Ive actually hooked compared to previous years.
The trouble i had today was a result of a previous session, id hooked a pike awkwardly and was forced to crush the barbs on the frog to get the hooks out and cause less bother to the fish. I'd forgotten about this so today although i was hooking the fish they were coming off either when they tail walked or when they were going nuts in the margin as i was about to land them.
I changed to a black frog and continued to get takes but for some reason they were not swallowing the frog like they were with the lighter brown coloured frog. The takes were positive and i even saw a few that open there mouths onto the frog only to find they hadn't actually taken it in. It was very strange.
Just as i was settling into the action and thinking about the prospects of the session it was almost as if someone had flicked a switch and the whole atmosphere changed, the wind got up and then the rain came. The takes totally dried up so i reverted to trying subsurface lures. I walked a good stretch and nothing was happening at all since the weather change and I'd had an action packed start.

I was only travelling light so only had a few lures amongst the frogs so tried a few different things but nothing was working. Then i had one of those moments where you find a lure you bought but ended up not thinking much to it so it never got used again, it was one of those 'i'll try this as a last resort' kind of things. The lure was a red and white abu hairy killer, i remember trying it an could not get it to sink at all so never bothered with it again, but did remember that someone suggested that you need to really wet it and keep squeezing it to get the water into it. This worked and after a few casts it was really sodden and despite its light weight, it cast very well and quite a distance. In the water it didn't really do much other than pulse abit on the pause and run in a straight line so it was a case of mixing the speed up abit and giving it a jerk or two. I'd missed a take from a small fish early on. I then noticed i was out of time and i was supposed to be back at the car park to be picked up, so i had one, well 3 last casts. On the first last cast i had a pluck which didn't feel like weed or anything, thinking it was a small pike maybe i cast back out and drew the lure back through the area, nothing happened so i thought that was it and sped up to get the lure out and rush back. As i sped up a bow wave came behind the hairy killer to the point that the lure was on the surface about to be pulled out when the big shovel shaped head came out and grabbed it, i struck and could see it was hooked well in the scissors. A great fight ensued in the tiny river and even despite having my drag set mega tight to maximise the frogging hook up, the fish was pulling my rod down and stripping line. When they are fit, pike really do have some power! By now my phone was ringing and i was in a panic, i got the fish in, unhooked it then put it in the margin in the net while i phoned my mother to explain.

A really stocky fish was in the net and it looked a good fish, when i lifted it out I was amazed at how wide it was, it wasn't the fat kind of pike where you see the belly hanging down when you lift them up, this fish was solid as a rock and wide with it, an absolute power house. I'm presuming due to its small environment it had grown stocky and not developing into a lengthy fish, the head was a good size but the body didn't quite match. In the end I was a tad disappointed as i was in a right panic and rushed the whole thing, didn't get a weight and didn't really get a good enough photo, its OK but id have preferred a better one. I always catch my better sized fish when I'm alone so i never get a good enough photo doing self takes. It was never going to be a PB but its the biggest Ive had for awhile so i was chuffed to bits, especially on a bogey lure and on the second to last cast, i say that because obviously i had to have one more just in case there was a bigger fish sat waiting!!


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