I love the unpredictability of fishing and yesterday was no exception. Heading out with lure fishing guru Danny Parkins our goal was to bag ourselves a Pike, Perch or possibly a Chub. This is of course not the best time of year to be targeting these species with lure tactics, especially after the freezing temperatures but right now I am just keen to get out and learn as much as possible about this method.
I am a completely novice lure angler, but have been cutting my teeth in the company of Danny (see his blog here) who has been kind enough to show me some of his top fishing spots and techniques. Arriving at the venue I was stunned to see a river that would usually call for a set of chest waders and a light dry fly rod. Pike in here? I was rubbing my eyes! Good start … I had to see this!
Within half an hour of starting Danny rolled a Chub of in excess of 4lb which sucked in and unfortunately spat out his Bluegill Sebile Magic Swimmer. It had been hiding in a seriously snaggy area caused by a entangled mess of spindly branches; cast an everyday lure with exposed hooks into that mess and it would be curtains. But the clever design of the Magic Swimmer is perfect for these situations as the hook remains covered until such time that a fish hits. I watched in awe as Danny repeatedly banged the lure in and amongst all those snags before the fish hit. Granted Danny is a highly experienced exponent of the technique with a cast to match but I had a go in the same swim later on in the session and found that I could be pretty wayward with the cast and still retrieve the lure.
So we were off to a great start but neither of us could have written what was about to happen next! Moving just 30 yards from the Chub swim Danny recommended a cast into a nice deep channel, ensuring the lure landed close to the inside bank and was allowed to fish virtually dead drift. The Magic Swimmers have such an incredible action and I felt confident that any moment it would get snaffled by a Pike. A few casts in angling adrenalin suddenly took over both of us as a double figure fish began tracking the lure …. our split second thought was “PIKE” They must have heard us shout in Tiverton! They definitely heard “SALMON”! Simultaneously we realised this was no toothy critter but a silver tourist resting up before heading back to sea. So we had almost caught a Salmon on a Magic Swimmer! What was going to happen next?
See for yourself above! Swim 3 and Danny shouted that a big Perch had just hit his Magic Swimmer twice. I ran up to check things out while Danny changed over to a 2.5″ Kalin Grub. He explained that the soft Swimmers with encased hooks need to be hit hard and so a soft plastic lure with an exposed hook may do the trick if the fish hit again. Danny was doing the fishing but my heart was racing, in the clear water I knew we would see the fish take if it decided that the Grub was worth investigating. Plain as the day a big Perch silhouette loomed up behind the Kalin and then in a flash something else charged in and grabbed it. Of course we both thought Chub, but no it was this incredible quality Wild Brown Trout. Talk about a buzz, we got a very quick picture and back the fish went … while I made a mental note to return to this venue with my fly gear in season …. imagine that fish on a dry fly! So we had set out after coarse fish and so far the “lure guru” had shown the “fluff chucker” how to catch gamefish! What would be next?
A quiet spell. We carried on upstream fishing the Kalin Grubs while Danny explained that he expected the fishing to be slow at the moment but that by the summer we could expect explosive sport on surface patterns. I cant wait! But I still really wanted to see a Pike, I had seen a Perch but I was still really struggling with the concept that we had caught Trout and seen a Salmon on a Devon venue that also holds a stock of predatory fish. Danny knew a spot we may get the fish we were looking for. Danny always knows a spot!
Its probably the smallest Pike I have ever caught, but I really didn’t mind ! This fish fell to an Orange Cannibal Shad which Danny had suggested, hitting the lure twice previously before crusing in and taking right at my feet. More visual fishing! There are also big fish present, Danny got a seriously strong hit just after I landed this fish and look what a mess it made of his Shad!
I added another slightly bigger fish to the day which again took the Orange Shad and we had another massive adrenalin rush further downstream when a double figure Pike charged in after Danny’s lure. So, we didn’t land any huge fish but so what! This was just a great experience and during the low season …. just imagine the summer potential. This venue could provide dry fly sport for Trout and Chub one minute and Pike action on a surface lures the next … the mind boggles. And just to completely blow my mind Danny mentioned that “there are lots of Barbel in this venue”. As you can imagine, sleep was difficult last night!
Oh and Danny didnt land a Pike! So the fly guy caught the coarse fish and the lure guy caught the game fish. How about that!