The loss of my trusty ice breaker saw a visit to the local DIY store for a length of chain on the Saturday after New Years Day. Equipped with a new chain a new breaker was assembled!
I was loathe to but decided to give it a go on the Sunday, Peg 10 seems a lot further when you have an ice breaker on the trolley I discovered! The temperature was just below freezing when I arrived but was due to rise to the giddly heights of 3C.
Peg 10 was still covered in ice, as was most of the lake apart from a strip on the far side that stretched a 100m or so and was being kept clear by the wind movement. Setting to work with the breaker I cleared an area out to 9m, based on the fact that was the easiest distance to throw the breaker, but rather than the usual rectangle shape, I cut a funnel shape in the ice so I could put a pike bait out as well.
With the ice now cleared I decided to not cup in any bait, rather use a kinder pot to deposit a few micros and maggots with a groundbait plug. My sardine bait for the pike was lobbed to the edge of the right hand edge of the ice about 7m out. I didn’t have long to wait before I had a bite on the pole, a small roach, followed by two microscopic perch.
The bites continued and whenever they tailed off another plug of groundbait kick started them again. The fish were small but welcome, after an hour another brave (fool-hardy) angler arrived on the far bank and went on 19, by the island, which had a clear patch of water, again fishing for pike. The morning passed quickly with regular bites and at 10:30ish the pike float slid beneath the ice! A low strike was met with solid resistance but a fairly short if scrappy fight ended with a pike of 6-12 in the net. A bonus on such a day!
About 11:45 3 other anglers turned up and I decided it was time to think about going, the temperature had risen to those heights of 3C and the ice had started to melt, making my area bigger but the ice water was going to have an effect on the fish. I ended up with 50 small roach and those 2 perch to go with the pike. I said they were small and they were the scales showed 2-9 for the 52 fish! I told the new anglers that I was leaving if they wanted to drop in to my peg (as it was the only one clear on this side).
Tuesday Lockdown 3 starts and angling is not allowed, by Thursday thanks to the efforts of the Angling Trust it was back on the allowed forms of exercise providing it was done locally. If ever there was an example of why everyone should be a member of the Angling Trust, this was it. It may be a pandemic this time but you only have to look at what has happened to angling in Germany in the past as a result of not having a coherent Governing Body to see why we need the Angling Trust.
I decided to leave the weekend alone and returned to peg 10 (yes the rut has set it) on the Monday. The walk was not pleasant to say the least with the underfoot conditions being very slippery. The colour was dropping out of the water and with a very cold wind straight in to my face I lasted 3.25 hours. It was an hour before I had a bite and lost it, in fact that was a theme for the session with 8 small roach being landed and 9 being lost. The hook was checked and fine, it was after the fourth fish landed I discovered the reason, the fish was not hooked but hanging on to the maggot! It seems the ice water had made the fish very lethargic and they were just holding the bait rather than wolfing it down. The session ended with my 8 roach weighing 0-4-8!
Various factors then came into play that stopped me going again until the following Monday. Determined to break the rut, I took my rucksack seat, waggler/feeder/pike rods up to the island to try and almost complete my mission of fishing every peg this season.
I decided to fish a waggler given the overhanging trees and found about 4 feet of water 15-20m out. My first problem was that I did not have a catapult, as when I went to retrieve it from the front pocket it was not there! So I prepared to introduce two balls of groundbait with a few micros and pinkies in them.The pike rod was lobbed out to the left about 20m, just over a slight drop off, with a sardine as per usual. Looking around the island it now only had the one fishable area as the brambles had taken over peg17, so it looks as if I have fished all the available spots this season!
Ten minutes in I had my first bite which I missed, next cast missed again, third cast I hooked what looked like a hand sized skimmer that flipped and came off! I then began to get a run of roach and managed to keep them coming by introducing a ball of groundbait every 40 minutes or so. The pike rod was totally inactive! Towards the end of the session, a large double flashed through the surface chasing the roach, I then moved the pike rod into that area but to no avail. I had set myself a target of 50 roach if possible and at 12:15 achieved that and decided to pack up. Whilst doing so the pike swirled again! The 50 roach plus one rudd and one small skimmer weighed 5-1.
The weather is not looking brilliant at present with the forecast of more rain making the poor underfoot conditions even worse (if that is possible). I have made up a rig with a 5g “Blue”and given the opportunity I am planning to do a follow up video session with my 10m Chinese whip – the “banana”.