Desperate December

The rains of December left me thankful that we live on a hill and not near any rivers after viewing the scenes from elsewhere in the country. I have difficulty in remembering any day in December when it did not rain for at least part of the day. The weather combined with pre-Christmas family visits and preparations meant my opportunities to get out were curtailed somewhat.

My first visit to Bowood saw me at peg 11 (I’m definitely getting in a rut- but it is a good peg) with the intention of catching anything that swam but having a pike rod out at the same time. The water was up and very coloured not good for pike (or so I thought). Starting on the pole I began getting the odd roach and small skimmer when surprise the pike float went – resulting in a pike of 7-12 a nice start to the month. I tend to use herring in “dirty” water conditions and mackeral in clear conditions – I rarely use sprat at Bowood as I have never had much (no) success with it.

The roach were small but kept me busy until the pike rod went again this time with a 10-6 fish that only just fitted in my net- one of my season’s targets accomplished!


With the weather closing in I made my way back to the car with a 20-8 total and severely out of puff after sliding about in the conditions underfoot.

My next excursion to Bowood saw me leave the usual kit at home and revert to the haversack seat and float rod as I determined to break the rut and walked up to the end peg- peg 16, a total of 1150 steps in the wet conditions. The drizzle was not to bad and although I did not get any runs on the pike rod I had a pleasant couple of hours catching small roach and skimmers on the waggler for 5lb- the size of the fish was immaterial as I was just pleased to be out and the float going under!

The rut set in again on my next visit and it was back to peg 11 – there is a rational (I keep telling myself), if I am the only madman to fish here during the winter then at least I know there is bait going in on this peg and it may encourage any larger fish to remain in the vicinity, especially as it is the deepest part of the “arm”. The rationale seemed to work as I had a bream of 3-12 , lost another bigger fish and lost a good tench. I had a few small roach to take the total to 4-12 but left regretting the choice of putting a light elastic on rather than my usual 6-8.

Final visit was another tale of lost fish but slightly different. Peg 11 (again) usual elastic this time and I started getting very small roach on the maggot but they were not coming very often and I felt there was something bigger out in the swim. I changed to corn and 10 minutes later was putting the net under a larger skimmer of 2-12, then nothing. No runs on the pike rod, nothing on maggot so went back on corn. The float lifted and then buried, a fish tore off to my right then turned as the elastic did its job, at first I suspected tench but as it got closer and was keeping low and then making fast runs I suspected a pike – and it was a jack of 3lb hooked under its chin. Still a nice fight on the pole during a wet and windy day! No further bites on anything when the pike float ran across the surface, pole was shipped in and put to one side as the float disappeared and my strike was met with not just heavy resistance but a bone wrenching jaw to my arm as the pike rod bent right over and the fish began to run then the hooks pulled out!!!!! I was not a happy bunny as that pike was far, far larger than anything else I had hooked at Bowood and felt a great deal heavier than my pb of 14-12. No further action and with it getting wetter I packed up and trudged back to the car having to stop 3 times to catch my breath- the conditions underfoot were that heavy!

January will see me fish a Teams of 4 series on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Pewsey.More on that next month!


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