I needed a day off the still waters so with the new pike season kicking off why not have a crack at a croc or two on the Exeter canal. I was joined by fellow addicts Ty and Neil and we had spent the majority of the morning catching live baits which I find have a much quicker response than deads on the canal especially early on in the season.With a decent selection of roach in the live well and a good supply of dead baits we set about our way to spend the afternoon on the Lime kilns when shock horror... the flippin' gates have been locked to stop pikeys tipping shite all over the shop. Well bang goes that plan which will play its part later on in the story.
With the weather on the turn we decided to try the pensioners stretch and shelter under the trees but catfish man Malcolm was bivvied up in the spot; change of plan again, we finally settled right at the top of the road. As we started to set up the heavens opened up, hailstones poured down as we rigged up in hurry before taking shelter in the car.
On one rod I used a live roach presented paternoster style with a sub float under the water ( a good way of presenting baits over a weedy bottom ) on the other I set up a simple running rig with a popped up mackerel; again to keep my bait away from the weed.
Half an hour or so later the roach rod was away, I was into my first croc of the season, a very powerful pike which I presumed to be a double whilst playing it. I was wrong when a pike of around 6.5lb was slipped into the net. A good start to the session! however over the next hour we constantly had to move our rods to avoid the plague of Exeter uni students in there big ass canoes. I'm not generalising people that go to Exeter uni but the majority of run ins I've have had with the rowers, they've turned out to be rude dismissive upstarts that seem to look down at anglers as inferior beings. Anyway after some divvy ploughed through Ty's rods (even though we had warned him!) enough was enough.
A short hop across the road saw us treading mud on the banks of the tidal not far off the sewage works; not the nicest of places to fish but no rowers would interrupt us down these parts. A bitter wind started hacking down stream and it started to get very cold.
Winter is definitely on its way, my fingers were starting to go numb when a faint shouting was heard drowned by the heavy gusting of the wind. Upon investigating the noise it turned out Neil was into a good fish.The coldness left my body as the excitement took over. I ran back to my rods to wind in so I could take some photos of Neils fish, (if he lands it that is) at this point we had still not seen whatever had taken the sardine but the bend in the rod and crunching sound of a heavily set clutch indicated a heavy fish was on the end.
The pike eventually decided to show itself and its acrobatic abilities by tail walking a couple of times before she was safe in the net. MY GOD!!! there lay the biggest pike I had ever seen in my life, it didn't look real. She looked every bit a 30lb-er, We all started dancing around the bank like idiots. Neil looked absolutely gobsmacked!
I piped up saying "you've got a 30 and a new river record I reckon mate" as we lay the beast in the sling "here we go". I lifted her up for Neil and Ty to check the scales. The needle span round and round before settling on 29lb 2oz. I couldn't believe she wasn't a 30 but hey its only a number. After subtracting the weight of the sling she turned out to be 28lb 3oz ( we used 3 different sets of scales ) As Neil held her in the water for one final perv; the look on his face said it all (he was having an internal joygasm) before she powered off to go and have a sulk.
A new pb which is gonna take some beating,On another recent visit to the tidal Neil also caught a small sea bass.The River Exe has been very kind to us this summer and it seems she just keeps on giving,
I'm glad the gates to the kilns were locked!
Til next time,
Tight lines y'all