Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Five of Jacks

Image Above: Mist on the water, Pennington Flash

The sun was low enough to burst through the bankside foliage and cut in amongst the mist that had risen overnight. I padded along excited to be at a new water and a little in awe of the surroundings having spent too long fishing in an inner city park. The lake or “flash” as it is known sits in a hollow rather than a valley and owes its existence at least partially to mining subsidence. This is flood land and there is a dampness about the place that reaches far beyond the banks. In the distance I traced the low arch of a Pennine ridge that seemed familiar but the name escaped me. The landscape was still in that process of naturalisation, its industrial past had been softened with spoil heaps weekly shrouded in scrub and sun bleached grasses. The lake is something special as all large bodies of water are, we can build roads, pave earth and manicure landscapes but a lake will always have something unyielding in its nature.

I set up quickly and made my first cast with a wobbler which slid through the air trailing a thread that settled out like gossamer as the slap of wood on the water broke the silence. The water was not deep and the lure tugged at weed snatching stems, I watched mesmerised as it rolled into view its rear end flicking like a spark of life. I worked the banks casting from gaps in the thicket of shrubs that lined this part of the lake. The weed was becoming a problem; I held my rod high making the wobbler run at a shallower depth but it wasn’t the easiest way to fish. I moved again and hitched on one of my hybrid casting spoons in the knowledge that if I kept a steady pace it would run just below the surface out of the weed. The lure ate up the distance between access points leaving little out of reach. In the clear water I could watch it react to every jerk and nod of the rod as it swam and flickered almost with a searching action, when the rod was still it settled back into a side to side roll, spooning its way over the weed.

Just off a reed bed, my first pike stopped the lure in its tracks and then set off for cover, I wound as fast as I could hoping to prevent a scramble through the reeds to retrieve them. In the end the fish came in parallel to the bank with his head buried in a mop of weed almost as if he was having a bad hair day. At about three pounds it was a good start to the day and having only a single treble to remove meant he was back in the water without too much messing about. Unfortunately I had run out of bank as fishing is only permitted on certain stretches of the shore and I wasn’t keen on casting in amongst the carp fishermen I had passed. I headed back to the car to drive over to the far side of the lake.

The sun had stirred up a breeze that chaffed through the reeds and pushed the surface of the water up into wavelets. This was obviously the windward side of the lake a green film of algae clung to the margins but beyond this it was almost clear water. I took another jack in the first few casts unhooking it in the water and before moving along the bank.

A little later and far out in the lake I felt a tug on the lure and then nothing, I cast again but misjudged the angle required and ended up far from the mark. The next cast was a little better and I found the tug again which had come from a seven pounder. I had hopes for something bigger maybe into doubles but seven pound was nice and heading in the right direction.

I took another two pike over the next hour, not of any size but it didn’t matter I was catching fish on a lure I had designed and produced myself, maybe the testing is over. 

Image Below: Jack pike on a Hybrid Casting Spoon.