Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Move over Rover...

My final session of 2013 turned out to be a trip to a new loch in search of perch and pike.
With no first mate available for the boat I had decided to do a bit of reconnaissance by shore to try and get an idea of how to tackle the venue on future trips. The drive to the loch seemed to take forever but eventually I reached the road that runs alongside it and found a place to park.

The weather was fairly grim and with the cold wind howling down the valley it meant using my ultra light gear was out of the question. Instead I went with my heavier set up; Shimano Yasei Red Dropshot rod, 20lb Sunline super PE braid, wire trace and on the business end I rigged up a baby Manns 1minus plug.

The wind was really ripping across the loch as I waded along the shore casting and working the plug. I battled the elements but to no avail and after a couple of hours I found myself at the top end of the loch with the wind roaring behind me. It had been a real struggle working the lures with the wind blowing across me as it kept catching the line and putting a big bow in it.

Finally with the wind behind me it meant I could keep in contact with the lure so I rigged up a 9.5cm Savage gear soft 4 play on a 7g 2/0 jighead. I waded round the top end of the loch jigging the lure along weed beds and likely looking spots but the crystal clear water was devoid of fish. After a while of wading and casting I came across a small burn flowing into the loch. The flow of the burn had made a small gravel spit that jutted out into the loch creating a nice steep ledge into deeper water. I made a couple of casts around the mouth of the burn then I worked the lure slowly along the drop off. This did the trick as the lure was seized by a pike and it put a fine bend in the rod as it powered off heading for cover. I quickly bullied it back towards me and as it got within a couple of rod lengths out it suddenly dived hard for the bottom whereupon everything went solid. I could see the fish flashing greenly deep in the water but I couldn't feel it through the rod. I tried applying pressure from different angles but I still couldn't feel or free the fish. I really wasn't sure what was going on so I poked the rod tip down towards the fish, I gave it a wiggle and the pike seemed to come free. The pike had manged to roll the trace around itself and it came in without fighting. What was surprising was that the pike was clutching a large tree branch in its jaws! It wasn't the biggest of of pike being about 4lbs but it was right up there for cleverness. I have witnessed chub and wrasse freeing the hook by biting onto roots and weed, magically transferring the hook from their mouth to the branch but never a pike.

The pike had grabbed a large mouthful of sticks.
Chompy the pike really didn't want to let go of the stick

I quickly untangled the fish from the trace and grabbed a picture. Getting the fish to release the stick was another story altogether. The pike hung onto it like a terrier with a bone and I began to wonder if its teeth had got stuck, but eventually it opened its mouth and released the stick before bolting for the depths at top speed.

The wind howled and I continued to fish on until I heard a loud crack followed by a splash. A large branch had snapped off the tree behind me and I decided to call time and head back before I got brained from flying branches.

All in all it was enough to show me that I certainly need to come back and spend a bit more time on this loch and I hope to take the boat for the next visit.

Tight Lines