Winter Is Here
With a busy weekend where a lot had to be attended to I made sure that I had a couple of hours to fish a river on the way back home this afternoon.
I had wanted to fish this river for a while but rainfall over the past month and a half made that impossible. There was no way I was tackling the river in full flood but the last five or six dry days meant that the river would have dropped and it would be safe enough for kayaking against.
Not arriving at the river until late in the afternoon, I had given myself about two hours of fishing before it would be time to turn back. I was travelling light, just carrying a couple of lure rods, some lures and a few baits. I wanted to head upstream trolling lures behind the kayak. The plan was to try to identify shoals of roach on the echo sounder and troll through them, stopping up at any area that looked worth investigating further.
The river was dropping but there was still colour in it. I figured that the lure was going to have to be a large one and I went for a large diving ‘X-rap’ from Rapala with a rattle inside it. If the fish can’t see the lure at least they might hear it. I pottered along upstream keeping in close to the bank and working the lure alongside it in three to four metres of water.
After heading up the river a short distance I noticed a huge shoal on the echo sounder and I pulled the kayak into a small eddy to facilitate some bait fishing. I had some lovely herring to use as bait, leftovers from a recent sampling exercise in Galway Bay. Everything went out with the herring attached to Cox & Rawle trebles which I wanted to assess for their performance. Being strong, sharp and micro-barbed, they look like a good option for a pike angler.
Before long the float had gone and I was soon playing my first pike for the afternoon. After a short and spirited battle the jack came out of the water for a quick photograph before swimming off again strongly. The fish was a small one, just a few pounds but enough to make the effort worthwhile. The trebles were fine but admittedly will need a ‘heavier’ test.
After taking the first fish I decided to start moving again, I wanted to cover water but it was cold and foggy so I also wanted to keep warm. I started trolling again and as I worked the lure along a reedbed the rod arched over. Another jack had grabbed the lure this time and was making its presence felt. Almost a carbon copy of the first fish, this second jack spat the hook which was only lightly in its lower jaw. With a defiant flick of its tail the fish was gone.
The trolling was covering a lot of water and hitting fish so I pushed on. The Wilderness Systems Ride 115X features ‘Slidetrax’ rails which allow the mounting of gear. To these I have attached ‘Scotty’ mounts to hold the gear in place. I like using jerkbait rods and baitcaster reels for most lure fishing I do now in the fresh or salt, I think you have far more control over your fishing with a setup like this. They take time to get used to but well worth the effort.
I pushed on further, hoping to connect with another fish. I rounded a couple of bends on the river and just as I was admiring a huge shoal of fish on the echo sounder, the rod heaved over. Instantly I knew it was a better fish and when I got her on board I was not disappointed. Not a huge fish by any standards but a nice double all the same. Well marked, she was easily unhooked and returned to fight another day.
With light almost gone I had to return to the launch point. Low light and fog were a combination that could have easily seen me stranded; I didn’t want to take that risk. Two fish and a very near miss in just over an hour, I was happy enough with that. Winter is here and I have my first double of the season. Hopefully there are many more to come.