November 2022 Part 1 – At Last!

November arrives and on the first day I keep to my word and head up to peg 14 in the top field, the furthest peg on the right bank. Now the walk up here is not the easiest as when you get into the top field you have to navigate a steep slope with no flat area plus the ground is invariably sodden so a trolley is impracticable so I went forth with my Chinese rod bag holding the pike rod, a feeder and a waggler plus various bank sticks/handles, the pike handle was carried separately together with the keepnet bag and bait bucket. My haversack/seat held the rest of my bits and pieces.

The day was very windy with showers and I managed to fish from 9:15 to 12:15 before setting off for home. I decided to stick to the feeder as I wanted to get some casting practice in but still put the pike rod out, trying the margins and further out to no avail!

The open-end feeder was dispatched to the clip at 43 turns with a 24 inch 0.10mm hook-length to an 18 with double maggot, the feeder loaded with micros, and wheat in a mix of roach and fishmeal groundbait. I had six casts to put some bait down after an initial 5 minutes to ensure there was not a shoal of bream already in residence! It took 15 minutes before I had the first bite (this was the third proper cast) from a small roach and that was how the day went with missed bites and 10 roach, 6 small 2oz skimmers/blades and 3 rudd for 1-08.

Back to peg 10 on the Friday I began a bit later at 9:30 fishing through to 12:30. The water still had a fair bit of colour so I was not too hopeful of pike but put a sardine out to 20m while fishing the pole at 10m over 3 balls of groundbait. The going was slow with just a couple of small blades at first which I hoped meant there were some bigger fish around. The pole line went dead after an hour, not that it had been lively before that, but I took it as a sign that there may be a pike in the area so wound the sardine in to about 11m, just off my fishing area. Ten minutes later the pike float disappeared and a strike resulted in the first pike of the season coming to the net, albeit only 5-12 but a pike nonetheless! The pole line then started slowly to offer more activity and another “dead” spell about 11:45 saw another pike run from the same area, this time a bigger fish of 7-06, so in the space of a bit over an hour I had got my piking season off to a start! I ended up with two roach, six rudd, nine blades and a rare gudgeon amassing 1-04.

I took a photo of some “blades” as sidestreambob had not heard of the term before and as such it made me realise that it may need explaining, but a picture will help. Blades refer not to Sheffield United but small skimmer bream usually under 2oz as when they are swung in the silver sides glint like razor blades!

The following Tuesday I was back at peg 10 fishing 9:10 to 12:00 although the weather was bad with heavy rain with very few gaps. Fishing in my usual manner it was slow going with small blades the main source of activity until it went dead about 11o’clock and then the float slid under and a strike was met with an immovable object that resembled being caught on the bottom but I immediately knew this was a pike as that is the scenario when you hook them on the pole – just a solid weight until they realise they are hooked! Five minutes later I had it close in and had to reach for the pike net as it looked a double figure fish, then it dived into the marginal reeds on my left and managed to snap the 0.10mm hooklength!

Restarting a few more small fish came before another quiet spell at 11:50 signaled potentially another interloper. This time the pike rod saw the action and a little before 11:55 a pike of 10-10 was in the net! It was at this point I decided to pack up as there was a lull in the rain. My 9 blades,7 roach and 1 rudd dragged the scales down to a magnificent 0-14!

Next day I was back at peg 10 still with wind and rain but fished 9:45 to 1:00. I put the pike rod out to 11m to start and set the pole up. I had just put the first ball of groundbait in the cup when there was a run on the pike rod, a strike was met with a disappointing fight from a fish of 6-13, from there on at roughly 45 minute intervals there was pike action resulting in a very feisty 4-02 and a welcome 9-10.

In between I had nine roach, four rudd four blades and two surprise gudgeon for 0-15 but last fish of the day was another pike on the pole, this time one of exactly 6lb which gave me a very pleasant total of 27-08.

On the way back to the car I had slipped on the sodden grass and wrenched my knee so on the Friday it was a case of being sensible and forsaking the chance of more pike and fishing the Pondtail. I decided to just fish a homemade waggler at 20m for a change and fishing from 9-15 to 12:00 I had a fun session with 61 roach and three perch for a level 5lb taken on 0.10mm hooklength to an 18 using just three no9 droppers in the 8 feet of water.

So after a slow start the pike have turned up at last, my next task is to source some decent sardines as I am down to my last few!