After ten days of mojitos in the sun in Cuba I was itching to get back on the river bank, I was still looking for some decent roach, and havn't fished for pike yet this winter so I thought that I would combine the two activities in a brief session that would probably prove to be my last of the year. I had spotted a pike swirl though the slack near the dace swim of a few weeks ago , and though that it might still have something to offer.
Pulling up near Ratcliffe church a couple of cars hinted that I wouldn't have the stretch to myself, though as I neared the stile the sight of two pikers ambling towards me on their way home would confirm my solitude. A brief conversation revealed that they had seen a single pike but caught nothing.
Bites were slow coming at first, a single minnow was the sole reward for the first five minutes, though as I progressively increased the depth I began picking up more takes, chub at first, all quite small, before a tiny roach of less than an inch found the hook (with its belly), and was then followed by a bleak.
I took this as my cue to give the pike rod a go, mounting the bleak on a wire trace with a single size 1 hook on a 2 oz paternoster and fished at the tail end of the swim. Back on the flot rod I continued to catch the occasional chub. Maggots seemed to be the only bait working, casters and bread failed miserably and even with the maggots bites would dry up from time to time, sometimes a change of depth might yield another, and after a lean few minutes a switch to laying on hard on the bottom produced a succession of gudgeon.
The pike rod remained untouched throughout, and a switch of swims as the light faded would produce no further fish. with my freezing toes burning their way through my waders I wandered back to the car and scooted back to the warmth of a centrally heated house - a few hours in the cold is just the thing to make you appreciate creature comforts...