After a weekend of patchy rain and the occasional burst of sun shine I decided to grab my pike gear and go fishing for an hour or two. I thought I would check out the Nutbrook Trail Ponds on the NCB Area 5 waters, in the hunt for small Jack Pike & Perch. I fished this last weekend with Tom and caught a couple of nice little Jack Pike but as “sods law” dictates my camera batteries had died so I have no evidence. Determined to make up for the lack of photos I though I would give it another go.

The pond is situated just behind the “Straws Bridge” nature reserve, when I arrived I met a young couple fishing the peg I wanted, they had been there a few hours and had nothing, things weren’t looking too promising. I had a slow walk down to the other end of the pond, the wind was blowing really hard and the rain had started to fall even before I could cast a lure out!

Pike LureI had chosen a small plug which looks like a small “silver” fish, I though I would try and replicate the look of a small roach. The lure I chose was a cheap one from Decathlon, this is the lure I had caught the two Jack Pike’s on last weekend.

The problem with the Nutbrook Trail ponds is that they are full of weed at this time of year, this particular plug will dive down in the water when you are retrieving it, this caused a lot of problems with fishing the lure as effectively once it hit the weeds it would become snagged and effectively useless. Once this happens it is a case of reeling it in, removing the weed and re-casting.

Pike JawsSnag after snag, I began to think I was wasting my time, then out of nowhere I felt a hit on the lure, I began to think I had finally caught something, but the rod locked up as if I had snagged the bottom again.

To my great surprise when I had reeled the lure in I saw the big jaws of a pretty decent Pike brake the surface of the water. My heart started pounding as I got excited at the pure shock of seeing the fish! There was no real fighting and no swirls of water, was this fish dead?

Luckily the fish was very much alive, as soon as it saw my landing net it kicked off and tried to make a break for it again. I still didn’t realise how big this fish actually was.

I began to play the fish and managed to get it close to the bank, then I thought “oh shit…. how am I going to land this…?” It was way bigger than my landing net, and I have never caught a big pike before! I was a little nervous, I’ve seen the pro’s like Matt Hayes on TV picking the fish up behind the Gill’s, hooking their fingers under the fish’s jaw bone. There was no other way of landing this fish other than to lift it out of the water by hand!

Pike In The Net

This is where I had to stop mucking about with the camera as I had a predator fish in my left hand, who quite clearly was rather pissed off that I had clumsily pulled it out of the water. It was thrashing around with my hand stuck in its neck! I used the forceps to retrieve the lure which was halfway down its gullet.

That was it, my heart was still pounding away after the epic struggle (ok not so epic, but exciting non the less), I had to get this monster back into the water, I placed it back as if it were a smaller fish but it just lay there.. had I killed it?? It certainly looked like it… I picked it up again and pointed it nose first into the pond, and kind of pushed it like a torpedo into the murky water. As the water ran over the fishes gills it began to kick and swam off into the gloom.

And that was it, my first decent Pike, caught very clumsily on a lazy Sunday afternoon… My lessons learnt from this experience were 1) Always be prepared for the big fish… get a bigger landing net. 2) Big pike need to be looked after, they seem to be quite sluggish when returning them, perhaps this is why you hear stories of pike dying after being caught.

Thanks For Reading.

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