Returning home, complete with wife (!), after the various family duties in Birmingham and Yorkshire, it was not until the 22nd that I ventured out to Bowood. Looking back I realised that it was roughly the same time in previous seasons that I had started taking the pike rod, so sticking to prior form I packed pike kit in with the rest of the tackle and trundled off to peg 10. Setting up and armed with last season’s sardines that had been in the freezer since January, I managed to put one on the homemade wire trace with the two size 8 barbless carp hooks and cast out only to see the sardine float despite having 4 SSG on the line! Reeling in I dropped it in the side of the platform off the rod tip thinking the water would thaw it out without it being a surface target for any sea-gulls! It sank while I was setting the pole up and I carried on setting up when I noticed a bob and the float running across the surface, a quick strike and before too long an 8-00 pike was in the net. A lucky start!
Anyway a new sardine had the same treatment but no run this time, so it was cast out just beyond pole range. I had decided to revert to my “winter” rigs for Bowood with a 1g Paster float and 0.12mm Shogun hooklength to a 16 allied to a lighter 6-10 elastic. Three balls of groundbait went out on the 10m line along with a handful of hemp and wheat plus 10 kernels of corn. Double maggot on the hook and 10 minutes later a small skimmer was in the net. The absence of immediate interest from rudd raised my hopes that the bream may be around, so a change to corn was in order. Things didn’t pan out as expected with the odd small skimmer and a hybrid before rudd appeared. It was odd but no roach were showing, then after an hour or so the pike float bobbed and slid away. A strike was met with solid resistance and a stubborn pike of 11-04 was finally netted.
The pole line was very slow with just the odd rudd taking the corn but then a minute dip and slight movement to the left made me instinctively strike and see a good amount of elastic come out and a strong fish charge to the left and then back to the right, a good few minutes passed before I was able to put the net under a tench of 5-04. Resuming I had a few more rudd before a bite around 1pm just before I was going to pack up resulted in a solid resistance which immediately made me think pike, only to be proven correct as Mr Pike decided to tail-walk a couple of times which can be good fun on a rod and reel but is doubly so on a pole. Eventually I managed to net it and it pulled the scales down to 7-08, so with my rudd, skimmers and hybrid that gave me a 32-08 total, a pleasing session particularly as I had been filming it, changing camera half way through the session. I was not pleased when I got home to find the second camera had stopped recording after 5 minutes and had not captured any of the fight with the tench or pike nor me posing with the tench before releasing it! GRRR!
Two days later I was back at 10 with slightly different weather – the previous cloudy overcast weather was replaced by a very warm and sunny day. Starting as before I was intrigued that my first 5 fish were roach whereas they had been absent on my previous visit, the day was unremarkable in that I ended up with 25 rudd, 9 roach and 6 skimmers for 4-01. The pike rod produced no interest but my corn on the pole resulted in two pike that were both lost, one a tail-walking double that I had on for 7-8 minutes before it found some lilies on my left and managed to snap my 0.12mm hooklength.
I avoided the week-end and it was the Tuesday that I returned to peg 10 only to find that the large tree in the middle of the field that used to provide some welcome early morning shade in the summer had been felled and the estate workers were busy with the chain-saw, preparing for it to be burnt as it was apparently diseased. Anyway I stuck it out fishing from 9:15 to 12:05with no sign of pike but 20 roach, 16 rudd, 4 skimmers and a hybrid gave me a level 5-00.
The weather put me off going for the last two days of the month with strong wind and rain but all in all September was kind to me!