Andrew Pilgrim

Dazed & Confused

As you may recall from last weeks blog this week I fancied getting the big lures out for Pike. One thing you, dear reader, should appreciate is that when you sign up to write a weekly blog such as this the pressure is ramped up when you do have a days fishing, you have to log the days events and remember to take pictures of your surroundings and the stunning, often specimen fish that we bloggers seem to catch on a weekly basis. The thought of blanking and not having much to write about is always in the back of your mind. As a fishless uneventful day draws to an end the mind starts to search for past fishing trips that may provide an interesting story for our esteemed readership.

So today I went pike fishing and here is a blog about something completely different!

A while ago now I had an acquaintance who I used to buy traditional cider from, on chatting to him it transpired that in addition to making cider he also owned a small vineyard in north Essex, less than 5 miles from my home. “You should pop over and have a look” he said and as I like wine and my beloved wife Sheens is partial to a bottle or two from time to time I arranged a visit.
Wineries are fascinating places to visit if you like wine and the walk through the rows of vines on a summers afternoon, followed by a visit to the “tasting room” was most agreeable. However to be honest I was finding it hard to concentrate as Tom the owner waffled on about grape varieties acidity levels. Why?…. well on arrival at said vineyard I had spotted something, just a merest glimpse though the trees…. WATER.
Now as every angler knows the sight of water immediately prevents you from thinking about anything other than fishing. Tom moved on to tell me about Terroir (soil) and I nodded sagely whilst all the time devising some way of changing the subject. “Lovely place you have here Tom, mind if we have a walk round?”….. “Be my guest” he replied and off we ambled making a beeline for the Trees but all the time resisting the urge to break out into a trot.
“Oh! You have a pond?” I exclaimed trying to sound surprised. And indeed he did, a very pretty one too.

A quick scan round and it was very obvious that there were no swims, and allot of the bank was inaccessible. But boy did it look inviting. “Do you fish Tom?” …..” No” came the reply. “Shame” I said “I bet there are some nice fish in here”………… “Oh yes, we see them swimming about on the top, Big ones” he replied turning to walk back .It was obvious that a less subtle hint was going to be required. I decided on “Well Tom it you ever fancy learning to fish I’d be more than happy to bring my tackle up and show you”. I waited with baited breath………………. “No thanks, not really my thing”……DAMN!………“But you are welcome to come and fish if you would like?”…..BINGO!
A couple of days later I arrived just after sunrise and the place looked even more inviting.

I chose one of the few places where access was easy albeit the bank was a little high and not knowing what to expect I set up various tackle. A 6mtr whip for any smaller stuff, a waggler to fish corn hoping to tempt the better fish and a heavy feeder rod for any bigger “lumps” that may be lurking within this little piece of paradise.
The weather was beautiful, my gear was ready and I was well prepared for anything (or so I thought!)
I started on the whip at 4mrts loose feeding maggots and half an hour later was amazed not to have had a bite, Hmmm?….. Time to change to the waggler. Three rod lengths out in 6ft of water I had been steadily feeding corn on this line but an hour later…. Not a touch, and to be honest I was quite perplexed. The previous evening had been spent dreaming of the wonderful array of creatures I would undoubtedly haul from this unfished utopia. I had never considered blanking but after 2 hours things were not looking good.
I turned and picked up the feeder rod feeling sure that the castor and chopped worm laced groundbait I had introduced just off the overhanging trees to my left would surely by now have tempted some fish into the swim. Another half an hour and nothing not a single twitch. As I sat there feeling confused and despondent thoughts started racing through my mind, “What if there were no fish?… Maybe it had been netted recently or even polluted!”
Then suddenly the swim came alive, well to be honest it was more like it woke up the morning after a good session. “Two bites on the tip in two casts followed by three fish in three casts all Roach of around 3/4oz on corn, then again nothing. Ok I thought back to the whip line at 4mtrs, if the smaller stuff is on the feed. This proved to be a wise decision, almost, as soon as the float cocked it shot under, my poor little whip bent double and the line parted before I could add any sections. Ok I thought at least I had found the bigger fish so I picked up the float rod hooked 3 maggots on to the size 16 and swung it out to my whip line. The float slid away and yet another small Roach was caught, and another and another. Maybe that lost fish was just a one off, so I re rigged the whip and cast in expecting to have a hour or so bagging up on silver fish, BANG! Off it went and yet again I had been snapped off. “Ok like that is it?” I murmured under my breath”, I’ll have you “. Out went the tip onto the short line with 3 maggots on the size 14 and yet again Roach after Roach. This called for some serious thinking.
I decided that it was time to find out how much my whip can bend, I have fished the whip for years and landed many nice fish in the past so I felt confident as I re-rigged with 4lb maxima direct to a size 16 forged hook. Right, here we go. The float shot under and the whip arched round but this time I had planned ahead and had the extra 2mts already in place behind me, as I pushed the whip out the fish shot off down the margin and I managed to turn it. After a spirited fight involving quite a bit of running up and down the bank and swearing I finally landed the biggest carp I had ever caught on this method and, although I was shaking from head to foot, I was feeling smug, “Sorted!” I said out loud, time to bag up on carp. Or not as it transpired. Next cast and the fish hooked was unstoppable and I recall pulling my “Special Face” as the line broke, luckily before the whip did. Time for another rethink, I hate losing fish like this so this time I set up my float rod identical to the one on the whip and fish after fish were caught, you guessed it, all Roach! The rest of the day followed exactly the same pattern. Tip rod =Roach, Waggler =Roach, Heavy whip rig =Roach. I resorted to taking the light whip rig off and tying it to my float rod still only roach. So the light rig was re-attached to the whip and I promptly got smashed up. This continued for the next few hours and to be honest by 3pm I had had enough, no matter what I did the bigger fish would only take on the light rig, and only when fished on the whip.
I ended the day with a nice enough net of fish, All Roach and a Couple of Carp one of which, to be fair, I had no right to land.

When I got home I was totally shattered both mentally and physicaly.Very rarely you have a day where you just can’t suss out what the hell is happening but this was certainly one of them. Still to this day I can’t think of anything I could have done differently. Answers on a postcard please.
Anyway I got home and my beloved Sheena was waiting “Well? Did you catch many?” she asked expectantly.
“Yes loads” I replied.
“So you had a good day then?”
“No….. No not at all! “and I explained in great detail the mental trauma I had endured.
And I’m sure that as she turned away shaking her head I heard her mutter “Should have borrowed my Acolyte”

Next week I fancy…..? No I’m not going to jinx it.

We will see what happens.

See you on the bank or at the bar sometime.

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