The river had been calling to me since I'd had a wander along it three days prior. Having not made any major commitments to any expensive tickets or sneaky clubs which charge day ticket fees atop their membership I wanted to get a good value club book that would give me the options of a few bits of river conducive to how I am fishing right now. After deliberating all the pros and cons of the local clubs the obvious choice came out as Warwick & District angling society. They have a few different waters that I liked the look of and at £17 it is a bargain. I have been in and out of this club several times and I know the waters quite well, but this was going to be the first time that most of my time would be dedicated to lure fishing on their waters, so I hoped I hadn't made a bad decision.
My arrival at the river coincided with that most classical summer day accompaniments, a torrential down pour. After lingering in the car until the steamy windows began to draw the wrong sort of attention, I eventually and might say begrudgingly, donned my pack away water proof smock. Mix in the unbreathable nature of my water proof top with the near 20c temp, add a already warm man and you have a recipe for some serious sweating. When I eventually hit the path down to the river and got out of the wind the temperature seemed to soar even further. It was so hot and sticky that I half expected Bear Grylls to come hacking his way out of the cowslips with a film crew in tow and a dead otter hanging on his belt looking for fire wood.
Running water until this point has remained the one place I hadn't really put any time into fishing lures on, so this was pretty much virgin territory for me and because of this I opted to begin with exactly what was working for me on the canals. Bar some fine tuning of the jig weight to cope with the greater depths and flow, the only difference in my set up was the leader, which was a scaled up version of the fluorocarbon leader I use on the canal. Previously I was an avid wire trace user, but since I adopted the European favored fluorocarbon approach I have seen the heavier versions are more than capable of dealing with pikes sharp teeth whilst still being incognito enough to fool wary perch. Saying this, on some waters where the pike action is fast and furious I still use wire traces as they take more wear and tear.
I was actually very excited as I stood on the bank and fired the lure across the flow. Keeping the line taught I felt it all the way to the bottom which was quite easily seven or more feet. As I do on any water I fish with lures, I covered each area I fished carefully and in doing so began to mentally map out the underwater topography.
From the first few areas all I managed to incite was two half hearted follows, but once I dropped below a small brook which was pumping dirty water into the river the action really sparked off. Quite a lot of fish were concentrated in the dirtier water and as always prey fish meant predators. Straight away my mini red head fox pro zander shad tempted a rather animated jack pike.
Once that first fish was recovered and released the fishing just got better and better. The lure colour in the slightly discoloured water was definitely white. Having only a couple of the red head pro shads with me and the first one ended up getting torn to bits very quickly so, I soon reverted to the savage gear clown cannibal which I always carry loads of in my bag. This too seemed irresistible to the hoards of jacks spread all over the river.
In a little over three hours of hectic action I had multiple hits, lost four and landed no less than nine really aggressive summer pike. The catches were topped off by this slightly bigger one which on my 1-10 gram outfit gave me a right old run around. It put on a proper show at the net by tail walking and doing some impressive jumps before giving in.