We followed up the Itchen with a trip to Salisbury to fish the Avon. Conditions didn't look too bad and plenty of fish had been caught in the days leading up to our arrival. Someone forgot to tell the fish we were meant to be catching them!!! It was bloody hard work!
After several moves and lots of blanking I was starting to worry. We eventually settled on a stretch right up by the town and found ourselves sitting in amongst shoals of fish. Not the lumps we had been searching, but a fish was a fish on a rather difficult day. Chub, Perch, Roach, Rudd, Minnows, Trout and Dace made the day and on my last cast I caught a Pike....on double red maggot, 4lb line, 3lb hook link and size 18 hook. Loads of fun lol.
When I arrived I noticed fry moving in the shallows in the margin at the car park end of the lake, that will do nicely.
I set up 4 rods, 2 on float and 2 on ledger tactics and waited for the lads to turn up. I could see several pike moving around and was very optimistic for a good day. Then the students turned up and the fish went awol. Typical!!!!
We went over rigs, baits etc and got the baits out in likely looking spots, if they didn't get a take within 20 minutes we moved the bait a few feet so we covered the water.
It didn't take too long and one of the floats twitched a bit then moved a few feet sideways, stopping briefly, then sliding away. Reeling down and striking, the rod bent over into a satisfying curve and the fight was on. Soon we had a nice looking pike sat in the margins ready to be netted. We popped her in the Nash cradle and I demonstrated unhooking safely then we popped her in the net to recover before weighing and photo's. First of the day and nice double at 11lb7oz.
It then got a lot trickier and we had to work really hard to get any more action. We had 2 screamers but when striking the hooks pulled out. When we retrieved the bait we could see the pike had been holding the bait by the head and just raced off, the hooks were outside the mouth when we struck. I didn't want to wait any longer before striking as I didn't want a deep hooked fish, so I moved the bottom hook down an inch to facilitate better hooking. 10 minutes later we had a twitch on the float then nothing, we reeled down on it to check if it was sat there holding the bait, felt it twitch and struck. Another low double graced the bank, but for the first time in 8 years I had a badly hooked fish. We could just see the top hook but the bottom hook was out of sight.
We popped her into the cradle and I demonstrated how to remove hooks from a badly hooked fish. Carefully pulling the line up I removed the top hook then pulled up slightly more until I could just see the top of the bottom hook. I got the long side cutters and cut the hook and removed the pieces, then popped out the rest of the hook. We rested her in the net and took a while to recover her properly. This took about 10 minutes before she started to respond properly. We gave her another 5 minutes before I was happy and we could weigh her and take a couple of pics.
It is vitally important to make sure we recover fish properly, they are very delicate and need a lot of care.
After the photo's we popped her back in the net and continued to make sure she was ok, then released her when we were totally happy with her condition.
We ended up with 6 landed and 6 more missed or lost. Not great but not a bad day either.
All fish were caught on mackerel or pollan.
Roll on the colder weather.