The things that excite me have changed through my life. When I was ten just the slightest thought of a holiday in Skegness was enough to drive me insane with excitement. At thirteen it was the idea of trying to catch the seemingly impossible fish I'd seen in the Anglers Mail that really got me going. By my late teens it was... well we all know what stimulates lads of that age don't we. By my twenties it was all about the excitement of parties and festivals. Now though in my late thirties things have calmed down a bit and I appreciate the smaller things, although that's not to say that I still don't get excited, it's just that I get more excited about specific things.
Two weeks ago a very nice courier knocked on my work shop door in the pouring rain holding a four foot long hard tube package. This I was excited about, as for some time I had been trying to get my hands on what was inside, with some trouble may I add. When I had first seen the new Korum snapper lure rods I had not paid them much heed. But since beginning this lure fishing thing I currently find myself entrenched in I felt I needed a rod with the capability of throwing some small to medium sized lures. Now I didn't want a broomstick job, but rather something capable of throwing small jerk baits, poppers and some bigger jigs which I intend to use as the canals warm up. The other thing was that I didn't want to part with a great deal of money for this all rounder either. It didn't take me long to come back to the snapper range and quickly the seven foot 10-30gm snapper lure rod seemed a good option. Getting the rod was another thing entirely! Without going into details three or more retailers struggled to hook me up, that was until I checked the Angling Direct website which showed one left over which I quickly purchased.
With a shiny new rod in my possession I was as you might have realized a little excited to get cracking and have a chuck with it. Only everywhere had frozen over, leaving the only option to stare at my new purchase at home indoors, pining to be able to get out and use it. Finally, after two weeks, I found myself ready and able to go. Now though all that remained was the question of where might be the appropriate venue to try and stick a bend in this new rod that would live up to all the excitement... and there was only one place that I could think of that could possibly live up to the expectations I had.
Once again I found myself crossing the fence that marked the boundaries of the little country estate that is home to the shallow lake forgotten by both anglers and time. Neglect though is friend to us brothers of angle and while one by one the chaps that once fished from its well manicured law drifted away to more commercial venues nature took back control and things changed so that now the forgotten lake literally crawls with jack pike, and it's those pike which made this the perfect place to try out my new rod.
Although the neglect of this lake has in one way done me a favour, it is on the other hand slowly but surely strangling the lake with the constant winter deposits of silt. One half of the lake is barely two feet deep, and although the old course of the river they dammed to make this lake still holds some depth, the rest or the bottom still creeps ever skywards. Not only is it shallow but it is also littered with snags of every sort and thus is a bit of a mine field in reality. This was why I made the decision to fish a lure that number one, floated and number two, was cheap.
The devils own floating minnow in orange/gold I chose to use fit the bill all round. At first glance it looks a normal plug and I took me a bit of staring to see it unintentionally isn't. It's the position of the diving vein that's a bit odd. Unlike a lot of plugs the diving vein is positioned quite far back from the nose, that, combined with its small size and its angle means on a lazy retrieve it doesn't dive far and does so with awkward wobble that actually looks good in the water. Bang the rod tip down on the retrieve and this cheap and cheerful lure goes mad darting around, which was just the sort of trait I fancied would stimulate the jacks to attack.
The lure choice was spot on and even given the lure was not good on the cast, my new rod was powering it out well enough. I knew a few runs through the first swim would stimulate the pike from their torpors amongst last year's rotten weeds and all the other debris scattered on the bottom. The first tiny jack struck half way back on tenth cast, and at a mere two pounds fought well above its weight in the shallow water. Then a few casts later number two came along, following the lure right to the bank before tearing at it and surging back out into the lack with the lure sideways on his mouth. The day couldn't have started any better with two hard fighting pike attacking within the first twenty minutes in the first swim. Little did I know that there was still so much more to come early on in the day!
So far I had only cast into the slightly deeper water and as yet had not dared venture into the snaggy shallows to my left. Given that the areas I had fished already produced two fish, the next cast had to go into the shallows. On the first couple of runs through I could feel the snatches reverberate back up the line as the lure hooked various bits of rubbish. The next cast I slowed my retrieve further but added a few more taps of the rod to animate the lure. I watched the braid rise up in the water as the lure neared the bank and the out of the blue the water erupted like a mine had gone off subsurface.
The new rod took a much more severe bend than I'd seen so far, which prompted me to exclaim it was a larger fish. Then all hell broke loose as the bigger fish battered around in the shallow water like a torpedo tethered. The water, being gin clear gave me decent view now and again of a nice pike angrily thrashing, mouth open trying to eject the lure. Out of the blue it did the most magnificent power surge from the far left of the swim to the far right. In doing so it disturbed a second big pike that was hiding under a willow tree, which seemed to charge out as if to attack the hooked fish then just shot off out into the pool. Not long after this I got my first good view of the fish and realized why the second pike may have aborted its attack as it slipped into my waiting net.
As I lifted the net the fish did a little thrash which as so often happens sends the hook or lure flying out of their mouths and makes us think, thank god that happens in the net and not in the water. Then as I lowered the net the true size of this beast became clear, this fish looked like she could be the mother of all the little jack pike that fill the forgotten estate lake,and judging from her girth I fear she might have had something of the cannibal about her as well.
I was damn sure seeing how big she was, that the scales stood a good chance of going past that magic number of twenty pounds, but after a quick weigh in the net (which I had to use as I didn't have a sling big enough) she fell a bit short. Not that I cared though as I had just caught a fish three times bigger than anything I'd ever caught from a lake where I honestly thought there was no real monsters.
As for the rod, what can I say other than bravo Korum. Not only did it feel great whilst casting all day, but it also struck the lure home brilliantly on loads of jacks through the day and it felt responsive whilst seeming to have power in reserve when playing the big girl in the shallows. I wasn't going to include this final picture as I look a right knob with my left arm hooked up on the taught line, but in the end I felt I had to as it really showed how big the pike was in comparison to how slight the new rod that landed it is.