I’m not going to lie, the last few weeks haven’t been ideal! It seems like only yesterday I was walking the flats of St Josephs with the warm sun on my back, sand under my feet and the prospect of two years living in one of the most spectacularly beautiful places on the planet. Roll forward a few weeks and it’s bloody grey and miserable in Derbyshire and I’m back to square one!
I guess there’s only one thing to do at a time like this – go fishing. My last UK session was with Simon on a lake that I had never fished before so it seemed appropriate that we re – visit the area to try to find a few more pike and maybe a few perch on the lure kit. We arrived to a lake that was more coloured than when we had fished it last time, the water had an odd tinge of weak coffee about it – clear but holding some heavy sediment. The temperature was only a couple of degrees above freezing and there was a slight but snide NE breeze, the type that whips up under your shades and makes your eyes water.
Interestingly we rigged up differently – Simon reached straight for the soft plastics whereas I felt that the extra colour in the water might call for something with a little more rattle and vibration. I clipped on an old favourite in these sort of conditions, the Savage Gear 89 Prey in Firetiger. Not only is this lure bright enough to be seen in the murkiest of water but it’s also exceptionally noisy. It takes a slower retrieve very well and by holding the rod tip high I can fish this fairly deep diving lure in shallower areas. It’s a floating suspending diver which in cold water is a real winner for me – being able to stop the retrieve for a few seconds can buy you a few bonus hits.
It wasn’t long before the first take, a very plump pike of around 7 lbs which didn’t smash the lure so much as just sucked it in – a typical cold water hit from a sluggish fish. In fact when I chinned this fish we realised it was covered in leeches which suggests that it had been sat on the lake bed doing nothing for a while before this lure rattled over her head. Catching this pike was an immediate justification in my lure selection as it had tempted a take from a lazy and static fish – a great start!
Pike number two soon followed, not as large this time but very welcome in the cold conditions. This was a far more aggressive hit too and only a few moments after Simon and I had commented about how the day felt warmer and brighter than it had thirty minutes previously, we felt that the increasing light may just be stirring a few predators. Simon switched from his soft plastic set up to a similar lure in Goldfish pattern and within a few casts had played and landed his new PB pike – it was turning in to a great day for us both!
Three hours and over twenty fish later we decided that we had caught our quota for the day. Simon out-fished me nearly 2:1 and I didn’t really figure out why as we were using very similar lures with similar retrieves, I’ve had this happen on trout reservoirs when fly fishing before – it’s a real mystery! I’m glad he got to bank plenty of pike and I think a lesson was learned to fish to the conditions and not just reach straight for your favourite lure every time. The craze for soft plastics at the moment has seen hard baits take a bit of a back seat but in conditions such as we experienced on this trip I don’t think you can beat a noisy little crank bait.
No monsters were landed and I doubt we’ve shaken the world of lure fishing with our discoveries but it’s really awesome to watch an angler figuring things out as they go and Simon definitely has that knack, and while it may not be the Seychelles I’m pleased to get back to doing some fishing with my mates again. I’m pretty sure leaving Desroches isn’t the end of the adventure but the start of a much better one and I’m pumped to see where the road takes me this time.
The Incompleat Angler is back in the game!