Allow me to start this post with a small confession. When I am on a high, I am really on a high, but when I am on a low, I tend to look for the biggest shovel I can find to dig the deepest hole possible.
This being said will draw the picture of my moral after spending quite a lot of hours targeting pike and coming home empty handed.
One starts questioning his approach, fishing speed, depth, choice of colours, and the worst for me personally, the build of the streamer.
And regardless all the remarks made by my fellow fishermen friends, that my approach is not the problem but the general lack of interest of the pike themselves in whatever you throw in front of them, I can’t seem to get myself back on track.
The arrival of our new Redington Path rod 9ft 9-weight gave me the energy and idea to go out to test the rod and at the same time try to fool the odd pike into going after my new tube flies.
This time I would go out on my own. Not that I see myself as the asocial type of guy, but fisherman superstition kept me from putting my hopes up too high for myself and anyone accompanying me at that moment.
The weather forecast predicts clouds, rain and wind. Basically what you want going when fishing for pike after a much too warm mid November.
As usual it felt way too early when the alarm clock buzzer got me out of my sleep. I quickly got ready and shortly after I was heading towards the fishing grounds in our Flemish polder. I wanted to be on the bank, ready to fish by sunrise.
On the way over I paused to take a stunning picture of the sunrise. I can never get enough of this warm colour in the sky.
The Redington Path rod was mounted with our black and red PFF reel, holding the best fly line one can imagine, the Airflow 40+ Striper cold saltwater in 9-weight.
I had already been casting with this setup and found it extremely good and performant. Now the real test would be casting streamers and hopefully catch fish so I could see how the rod blank is holding up.
And, you can take my word for it: ‘what a cracking combination!’ Casting effortless with pinpoint accuracy time after time.
After the first few casts the anxiety of a possible strike made the adrenalin pump through my veins.
20 Minutes into my fishing session something hits my streamer hard and I manage to set the hook. This one is going nowhere. The rod is handling very well and perfectly compensates any sudden move the fish makes. After a few minutes I net the fish and get it on the bank. I quickly make a few snapshots and after getting out the tape measure it reads 82 centimetres. The spell has been broken; could I have found my Mojo back?
I fish the rest of the stretch but unfortunately without result. However I am already happy, I decide to stop over at another spot before going home.
A group of hunters are busy shooting at all that moves not far away from me and I hope they don’t take me for a bison or so.
There is about 150 metres of bank that I can fish. Methodically I start sweeping the water and keep Koen’s word in mind: ’slow, very very slow’.
Halfway in I suddenly feel the slightest tug on the line followed by the smallest swirl possible on the surface of the water. Instinctively I set the hook and my god, then all hell broke loose.
This is not a small pike for sure. I can hardly hold on to the fish, and the rod and reel combination do an outstanding job in blocking off any move this big mama makes. Wrestling it with one hand I manage to get some pictures, the fish launching out of the water 4 times, putting a maximum of strain on my gear. About 5 minutes later I get the fish in the net.
When unhooking this nice lady she gets back at me, my hand bleeding as a result (so the blood you see on the fish is mine), but I still have a smile on my face. I couldn’t care less. What a great fish, binge eating before the winter sets in, eating all it can get to raise its fat reserves.
I am secretly hoping for it to be a meter plus pike and I am trembling with anticipation when I line up the tape measure next to this beautiful fish.
Really …. !!!!! 104 Centimetres!!!! I could not have hoped for a better end of my fishing session.
The Mojo is back, although I probably never lost it, I just let doubt sneak in to my mind, but after this session it is soon forgotten.
Tight lines – Anthony