A better hit rate than Defoe
Left to right: the middle Severn, male mallard, flooded small river, the first pike of the year
This article covers my pike fishing sessions for the month of January so far. If I approached my angling in the way that you would run a business, then if I’m honest, I would probably have given piking a miss. The conditions weren’t ideal and if it was all about the bottom line then I’d have targeted a different species. But for me it’s more than just fish on the bank every time and the challenge of catching a pike was one that I rose to. And the satisfaction of seeing it come together in the end made it all worthwhile.
The first couple of sessions I was on the middle Severn. The first of these was at the beginning of the month and with air temperature dropping to minus 20 in some parts of the country, it was always going to be an uphill struggle. With the water temperature just about making 1.1C, it was no real surprise that I ended up fishless. Second time round I was a little more hopeful at 2.5C, but it was still going to be hard and so after success pursuing roach on one river, I blanked on another after pike.
I intended to fish another river third time out, but I must admit the level caught me out. I know the river well and expected a little bit of extra water but was surprised to find it in the fields and therefore totally unfishable. I had no option but to turn around and think about plan b. I travelled across three counties and ended up at Dudmaston, which is on the Kinver Freeliners ticket. For those who get frustrated because I don’t reveal much about venues, well hopefully over the coming months, your pain will be eased. (only teasing!). But seriously, as I am making my website ‘work’ from this year, I’m really happy to be in partnership with Kinver Freeliners Angling Club and so will be sharing a lot more information on that front.
The pool was still frozen in parts, and crucially the bits I wanted to fish. But as I say in the video, ‘beggars can’t be choosers’, so I was just glad that I could set up and do some fishing. The water temperature was in the mid 3’s, rising few tenths of a degree during the day. This was slightly misleading though as the probe was in shallow water which would have been affected more by the sun. Still, it gives a general feel for what’s happening. I still blanked however, so nothing new there!
I was absolutely determined to catch a pike though, and returning to Dudmaston I finally got my man. Although the ice had receded it was still covering both ends of the pool. The peg I set up in had enough open water to allow me to fish as I wanted. The water temperature had fallen from a noon high of 3.9C to 3.7C by early afternoon but that didn’t bother one fish at least. Picking up my sardine tail section it was a lethargic take that eventually saw me net my first pike of the year. One fish in four trips, but it’s better than Jermain Defoe’s hit rate from the penalty spot as he has blanked in his last four!
Even though I just had the one pike, the birding has been excellent, topped by a female smew and a firecrest at Dudmaston. In addition I saw several ravens and have located a regular perching point where the birds call from. There were also a few goldeneye on the pool, and along with the smew and the firecrest I was able to capture them on film and incorporate them into the video. I want to catch fish – of course I do – but I get great pleasure from the wider package of being out and about in the British countryside.
Video number 5 on list
(Originally published January 2010)