I was only after a few opportunistic casts when we took the dog out for a walk on the Levels this morning, but found the pike in a such an aggressive mood that half an hour of jigging on a small waterway soon became several hours of experimental lure fishing across a couple of drains. Starting out on a micro diving plug, it soon became apparent that I could not reach the depths where the fish were lying, so I switched over to a small Fiiish Black Minnow and had a good wallop first cast.
As an occasional, perhaps even reluctant, lure angler, the Black Minnow is one of those bits of kit I bought because I loved how it looked and felt, without really having any serious intention of putting it into action. It boasts a flaccid, hollow rubber body mounted on a large single hook, which is attached to the jig head on a swivel, enabling all the components to move freely and enticingly. It certainly has a great action in and out of the water. My one concern was whether I would be able to set such a large hook with my ultralight rod. After missing two solid bites in two casts, my doubts were being strengthened, however the hits were arriving with such regularity that I stuck it out with the Black Minnow and was soon rewarded with a trio of jack pike.
Each of those fish had been nicked through a small piece of skin, and when the landed/lost ratio evened out after three more pike shed the hook, I decided to switch to a simple Mepps spinner with a rotating silver blade. The Black Minnow had slightly redeemed itself however, with a nicely marked perch of 1lb 14oz, before I made the change.
I then had three takers on the spinner in twenty minutes or so; all pike and all landed easily enough, to a best of maybe seven pounds. It was then time for a move as Beth fancied some lunch, the dog fancied a kip, and I wanted to try and catch a few perch.
The next venue was much wider, deeper and holding a good deal more colour than the first, which had been gin clear. I therefore pressed into action my favourite lemon tiger micro-jigs. A curly tail grub was first out of the bag, as I thought it a better target for the fish in the stained water, but after catching just one small perch and receiving lots of plucks and rattles, I replaced it with a micro-fry. The perch responded well across the short area I was working and I had six, although the tentative bites continued. Five of the perch were small swingers, with one better fish, around the pound mark, being grabbed by a pike on the way in. A brief tug-of-war ensued before the pike's jaws opened and I could bring the perch to shore and inspect the damage, which consisted of a few split fins and a hole in the dorsal but, fortunately for the perch, no serious open wounds.